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Cultivating Patience

By Jennifer Rodriguez, Intern, and Kari Ure, Extension Assistant ProfessorWomen Coving Face with Hands

Perhaps we lose patience standing in line at the grocery store, attempting to be a mature adult amidst a toddler (or teenage) temper tantrum, or trying to find something positive in the day while experiencing a chronic health condition. It is easy to lose patience in daily hassles, interpersonal relationships, and life hardships. Patience helps us achieve our goals, improves relationships, and improves wellbeing (Schnitker, 2012). 

Mister Rogers taught children positive values for decades. His patience was proven when the hidden camera, practical joke television show, Candid Camera, attempted to ruffle Mister Rogers.  The television series set the stage in a hotel where Mister Rogers stayed during a television conference. Upon check-in, they informed Mister Rogers that they only had one room left for his stay and unfortunately the room did not have a television. The hidden camera recorded his reaction and response. Mister Rogers demonstrated patience, tipped the bellman, and with genuine understanding stated, “I don’t use the television anyway,” and “I have enough TV in my life.” Upon learning the joke was a setup, his response was, “I’m just who I am”.  Aside from showing patience in his remarks, his tone and listening skills demonstrated impressive patience.  He truly listened, waited to respond, and was gentle in his responses (Candid, 1998).  To watch the segment visit:  http://www.neighborhoodarchive.com/misc/candid_camera/index.html

It might be easy to recognize that patience improves wellbeing, but it is harder to cultivate patience. Identifying what brings impatience and identifying the emotions felt is the first step to improving patience. Once the triggers are identified, a plan can be made ahead of time of what action can be taken when those situations arise. The plan might include taking deep breaths, calling a loved one, using a temporary distraction technique, using writing as a way to express one’s thoughts individually before sharing with others, listening to calming music, or focusing on the long-term purpose of the task at hand.

Here are some questions to explore patience individually and to discuss as a family:

  • What comes to mind when you hear the word ‘patience’?
  • Why is patience important?
  • When was the last time you ran out of patience?
  • Who or what in your life requires the most patience?
  • What can you do when you start to feel you are losing patience?

Developing patience requires dedication.  It is a slow process with setbacks from time to time.  Ironically, the process requires, patience.  The benefits of improved relationships, attaining goals, and improved wellbeing are worth the effort.


Candid Camera. (1998) The Neighborhood Archive – All things Mister Rogers. Retrieved June 28, 2022 from  http://www.neighborhoodarchive.com/misc/candid_camera/index.html

Schnitker, S. (2012). An examination of patience and well-being. Journal of Positive Psychology, 7(4), 263–280. https://doi-org.dist.lib.usu.edu/10.1080/17439760.2012.697185