- What started as a simple experiment with children and marshmallows became a landmark study suggesting that the ability to wait—to be patient—was a key character trait that might predict later success in life.
President Uchtdorf talks about many characteristics and how they apply to our lives. The sections below give us direction and understanding.
Waiting Can Be Hard
- Patience—the ability to put our desires on hold for a time—is a precious and rare virtue. We want what we want, and we want it now. Therefore, the very idea of patience may seem unpleasant and, at times, bitter. Nevertheless, without patience, we cannot please God; we cannot become perfect. Indeed, patience is a purifying process that refines understanding, deepens happiness, focuses action, and offers hope for peace.
- Our Heavenly Father knows what good parents come to understand over time: if children are ever going to mature and reach their potential, they must learn to wait.
Patience Isn’t Merely Waiting
- Patience is not passive resignation, nor is it failing to act because of our fears. Patience means active waiting and enduring. It means staying with something and doing all that we can—working, hoping, and exercising faith; bearing hardship with fortitude, even when the desires of our hearts are delayed. Patience is not simply enduring; it is enduring well! Impatience, on the other hand, is a symptom of selfishness. It is a trait of the self-absorbed. It arises from the all-too-prevalent condition called “center of the universe” syndrome, which leads people to believe that the world revolves around them and that all others are just supporting cast in the grand theater of mortality in which only they have the starring role.
Patience, a Principle of the Priesthood
- Let us always remember that one of the reasons God has entrusted the priesthood to us is to help prepare us for eternal blessings by refining our natures through the patience which priesthood service requires. As the Lord is patient with us, let us be patient with those we serve. Understand that they, like us, are imperfect. They, like us, make mistakes. They, like us, want others to give them the benefit of the doubt. Never give up on anyone. And that includes not giving up on yourself.
The Lord’s Way and Time
- Every one of us is called to wait in our own way. We wait for answers to prayers. We wait for things which at the time may appear so right and so good to us that we can’t possibly imagine why Heavenly Father would delay the answer.
Patience Requires Faith
- Often the deep valleys of our present will be understood only by looking back on them from the mountains of our future experience. Often we can’t see the Lord’s hand in our lives until long after trials have passed. Often the most difficult times of our lives are essential building blocks that form the foundation of our character and pave the way to future opportunity, understanding, and happiness.
Patience, a Fruit of the Spirit
- Patience means staying with something until the end. It means delaying immediate gratification or future blessings. It means reining in anger and holding back the unkind word. It means resisting evil, even when it appears to be making others rich. Patience means accepting that which cannot be changed and facing it with courage, grace, and faith.
- Patience is a process of perfection. The Savior Himself said that in your patience you possess your souls. Or, to use another translation of the Greek text, in your patience you win mastery of your souls. Patience means to abide in faith, knowing that sometimes it is in the waiting rather than in the receiving that we grow the most. This was true in the time of the Savior. It is true in our time as well, for we are commanded in these latter days to “continue in patience until ye are perfected.”
The Lord Blesses Us for Our Patience
- The work of patience boils down to this: keep the commandments; trust in God, our Heavenly Father; serve Him with meekness and Christlike love; exercise faith and hope in the Savior; and never give up. The lessons we learn from patience will cultivate our character, lift our lives, and heighten our happiness. They will help us to become worthy priesthood bearers and faithful disciples of our Master, Jesus Christ.
Patience is necessary for all of God's children. We live in a society that wants everything now. My kids favorite thing to complain about is how slow the wi-fi connection is. What they fail to understand is that wi-fi didn't exist 20 years ago and even through it is slow, it is still better than nothing. President Uchtdorf tells us that patience is necessary to understand why sometimes we are told "no" or "wait" when it comes to getting answers to our prayers. If we have an eternal view of our lives, we will see that waiting and being patient builds character and helps us gain more in the long run. It is my hope that I can be more patient with those around me. By doing so, I will gain an important understanding of this Christlike characteristic.