Virtue of the Week: Patience


A little old couple walked into a fast food restaurant. The little old man walked up to the counter, ordered the food, paid, and took the tray back to the table where the little old lady sat. On the tray was a hamburger, a small bag of fries and a drink. Carefully the old man cut the hamburger in two, and divided the fries into two neat piles. He sipped the drink and passed it to the little old lady, who took a sip and passed it back. A young man on a nearby table had watched the old couple and felt sorry for them. He offered to buy them another meal, but the old man politely declined, saying that they were used to sharing everything. The old man began to eat his food, but his wife sat still, not eating. The young continued to watch the couple. He still felt he should be offering to help. As the little old man finished eating, the old lady had still not started on her food. “Ma’am, why aren’t you eating?” asked the young man sympathetically.

The old lady looked up and said politely, “I’m waiting for the teeth..”


Good things come to those who wait. Why is it that our young people can’t seem to wait for anything? They want instant gratification. They seem to all have lowered capacities for episodic future thought, the ability to bypass the “instant” and make choices that will yield higher long term benefits. I contend that it is our technology that has caused this. Today’s youth have been so saturated with video games and realistic visual technology that they have diminished imaginations. You don’t have to use your imagination when everything (and I mean everything!) happens right there on the screen in front of you. Having diminished imaginations makes it harder for our kids to envision the future. To envision a better future. To bypass short term gratification and patiently wait for a better long term benefit. Why should they wait if they can’t envision the future? All they see is here and now.