September 6, 2016
I read in the news last week that there is a new ‘oldest person in the world’ with the discovery of a 145 year old Indonesian man, Mbah Gotho. More interesting was his answer to the question of what was the secret to his long life: “The recipe is just patience” he answered.
Patience is a core value of Total Education but it is a difficult one to impart. How else can you really teach it other than by being patient? And it is such a powerful virtue, the absence of it creating a disharmony and lack of peace. For when we see anger in ourselves or in the children, how often can it be traced back to things just not happening when we want them to? That is, to a lack of patience.
Like all virtues, to mouth the words of how important it is to children, is useless and counterproductive. It can come across as preachy and sanctimonious which turns the children off completely.
The best way is to consistently show the children patience. When they see it in action and feel the positive effect of it time and time again they experience its power first hand. Our observation here at The School of Total Education is that patience resonates through to their own behaviour, often unconsciously. It becomes the norm in and out of the classroom in the relationships between the children.
That feeling of being valued, being considered, being thought well enough of that someone will wait for you is, in effect, a feeling of being loved. The flow on from that for the child is a great sense of release and freedom to be themselves and do their best.
There is another way of teaching patience and that is through stories. Again one has to be subtle about it so as not to put the children off, but there are some powerful examples of the power of patience in stories.
Getting back to Mbah Gotho, he was talking about the impact of patience on himself not on others such as the children. When we think about the wear and tear we do to our bodies by getting uptight when things don’t go as we plan, his recipe makes perfect sense.
So patience is clearly a win win value to practise. While it might not get us all to 145 years old, it will surely make for a happier and more peaceful life for us and those around us. It is also a key tool for teachers in bringing the best out of their students.