Lessons in Patience

“Have patience with all things, but chiefly have patience with yourself. Do not lose courage in considering your own imperfections but instantly set about remedying them – every day begin the task anew.”
Saint Francis de Sales (1567 – 1622)

With each passing year our lives seem to move faster and faster and thoughts on practicing patience have become almost quaint. Having spent the past year teaching art and graphic design to 9th and 10th grade students, the concept of patience has entered my mind frequently. I’ve never considered myself a very patient person. I’m a Gemini and thus by nature move quickly from thing to thing. Ideas fly into and out of my mind quicker than I can ever act on them. And for the ideas I do act on, I always expect them to be brought to completion much more quickly than realistically possible. Though I did raise a son and certainly had lessons in patience with that experience, a full year of teaching teenagers raised the bar on my ability to practice patience.

Both the tree and the spiral seem to emmanate the essence of patience to me.

Both the tree and the spiral seem to emmanate the essence of patience to me.

This quote on patience expresses very well an attitude I tried to impress on my students. “If I have ever made any valuable discoveries, it has been owing more to patient attention, than to any other talent.” Isaac Newton (1642 – 1727). With almost every project I gave the students, many of them would whip a few lines onto the paper and them proclaim “Miss, I’m finished”. They soon came to hate my response, “That’s a wonderful beginning!” I worked hard to help them be able to see, both the world around us and the potential in their drawings. I offered suggestions helping them to see how with more “patient attention” to their artwork they could turn it into a unique and wonderful piece. For myself, the process of creating art is the one place I have always practiced patience. But my students resisted my attempts to convince them that their works required more “patient attention”. At times I felt despair, wondering why I even attempted in view of their vocal and somewhat teenage style obnoxious resistance to my suggestions.

As the school year drew to a close I was amazed and proud to see the beautiful, well-developed art produced by both the drawing and design students. I learned that my feelings of despair were silly and something I could have avoided had I understood that with patience one can wait for life to unfold at its own pace. Small seeds were planted in my class day by day; seeds of belief in the creativity of each person: seeds of belief in themselves; seeds of the knowledge that each one has their own unique vision. Next year I’ll understand better and have more patience as I wait for the seeds to sprout and blossom in their own ways.

Tribal Self Portrait - Sandra Tucker depicts herself as an Egyptian.

Tribal Self Portrait - Sandra Tucker depicts herself as an Egyptian.

Sandra is an amazing young artist who aspires to be a graphic novelist.   She definitely has her own style going but is open to learning.


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