The Experience of Waiting
This afternoon, I was privileged to be a small part of something truly wonderful. As the autumn sun shone above, I looked on as families worked together to replant Beech Avenue. For once, I had the luxury of watching others toil while I took a few moments to ponder over the symbolism of this event.
The Chinese have a saying, ‘You can measure the quality of a culture when old people are prepared to plant seeds that will grow into trees under whose shade they will never sit.’
The reality is I will never see these beautiful beech trees reach maturity. I sincerely hope to be enjoying my retirement in fifty or sixty years’ time, but, in the meantime, I will have the pleasure of watching these trees grow. I will see them being tended and cared for by our Grounds Team; I will watch their leaves transform with the seasons and I will smile as hundreds of children play beneath their branches over the coming years. Just as the previous avenue lives on in the minds of so many Old Highfieldians, so this avenue will create memories for future children.
As with anything worthwhile, one has to be patient. This seems an alien concept, at a time when almost anything can be achieved instantly with the click of a button. One cannot argue with the fact that there have been so many improvements to millions of people’s living standards across the world because of the developments in fast-paced technologies. Yet, there is also a negative knock on effect…
Children are losing the ability to wait. Why is this relevant or important in our modern lives? I firmly believe that there is an exponential curve that links the time and care taken to accomplish something, to the resulting sense of achievement: the longer one waits, the greater the sense of triumph one feels. The quality of patience brings with it other important lessons, in particular that of resilience. No one is born an accomplished musician, a dexterous artist or skilful athlete. All achievements take practise, dedication and patience.
Advent is the perfect time to develop patience and to remember that it is in the selfless and altruistic acts of putting others before oneself when the true meaning of Christmas comes to the fore.