Patience is a necessary principle for principals, yet it is not a strength of mine. I am, by nature, a very fast-paced person. I don’t like to sit idle; I am constantly doing something or even a few things at one time. Seriously, even if I’m “relaxing” by watching a TV show I am also playing Candy Crush, painting my nails, or checking Twitter (or a pathetic combination of all of the above). It pains me to sit and watch my child attempt to tie his shoe on his own for two minutes, when I can get it done in two seconds. As a child, I was the devious kid that secretly opened my Christmas presents in the night and rewrapped them, because I was too impatient to wait for Christmas morning.
While I recognize the guidance in Joyce Meyer’s quote “Patience is not the ability to wait, but the ability to keep a good attitude while waiting” the practice of improving on my patience often feels more like this:
What does this have to do with the principalship? I recognize that patience is a weakness that I am constantly working to improve and a principal’s hectic days certainly provide many opportunities to practice patience! I think it would be very challenging for a principal to be successful in this role, while constantly being impatient. If I wasn’t aware of this as a weakness then I might blow off a parent or staff member needing to talk to share concerns so I can get something else crossed off of my previously written to-do list, I might make a quick decision on an issue without taking the time to check policy that would advise me on the right decision or I might miss opportunities to develop relationships with students during times that I would rather catch up on my loaded-up email inbox. I also recognize that I can work hard to practice patience all day at work and then may readily lose my patience at home. Recognizing that patience is not a strength, I keep in mind wisdom from David Allen:
The topic for this post was inspired by a group of fellow PLN
principals that I connect with daily. You can find each of their
posts on Patience below: