“Let us not grow tired of doing good, for in due time we shall reap our harvest, if we do not give up.” (Galatians 6:9)
Patience and Perseverance are good values for us to practice and encourage, both in school and out of school. These Gospel Values help our children, students, and each other have the courage to push beyond perceived limitations and to have the patience and endurance to fight through their struggles. Researcher and Author, Jim Collins, notes the importance of these attributes in his book Good to Great. In his research, he finds that our best leaders – “Level 5 Leaders” – have that paradoxical combination of humility and a strong will to “do” — even when it may cause personal difficulty. Jim Collins’ research showed that these types of leaders are the common thread to creating great institutions that endure. What Jim Collins did not mention is that St. Thomas Aquinas described these qualities over seven centuries ago, and it is these qualities and virtues that are found in the Gospel and that we promote every day in our Catholic schools.
Pope Benedict XVI also reminded us that, “The ways of the Lord are not comfortable. But we were not created for comfort, but for Greatness.” As compassionate and caring people, we are often tempted to remove the pain and consequences from our children’s decisions and experiences. However, this is not the path to developing patience and perseverance. Instead, we need to have the confidence and the fortitude to take stock of our children’s gifts and encourage them to seek greatness even though it may be difficult or cause them to personally struggle. We encourage all of our school children to do this with grace and humility.
Practicing patience and perseverance is also a sign of optimism and hope. If we were to give up when the going got tough, we would be admitting defeat and succumbing to despair. But by pushing through despite challenges, we are showcasing hope in the future and the idea that life has meaning and value. School and life may not be easy, but with patience and perseverance we can demonstrate our optimism for life and in our faith.
Continue to practice these values in your life, particularly through the month of February, as we as a school system practice them together.
We are focusing this year on our nine core Gospel Values – Community, Servant Leadership, Respect, Gratitude, Humility and Understanding, Wellness, Patience and Perseverance, Diligence, and Integrity. This is the 7th installment of a series of articles which explores these Gospel Values. This installment discusses “Patience and Perseverance.” (Please click on the links, above, to view the previous installments.)