The Loss of Anticipation

wait for itWho really likes to wait for anything?  We want what we want, when we want it, right?  If I know what I want, what it looks like, how it should go, is there really any reason why I should have to wait for it?

That’s exactly what we have become, a people who really hates to wait.  We have drive-through everything.  Get your “fast food” from a window.  Drive-through banking.  Drive-through Starbucks.  We even have the potential of having drive-through groceries if we set it up right, order online and then swing by the store.  Everything we want can get delivered us with no hesitation.  We hate to wait.

I’m a major culprit of this myself.  I can’t stand waiting.  A few weeks ago, I blogged about my lack of patience and what it cost me (read it here).  I can’t stand waiting, but I can tell you about a number of times in my life when waiting was exactly what I needed.  I might not have wanted it, but I needed to wait, I needed to go through the process because the process did something to me, it changed me.

I find myself overly conscious of the concept of waiting as I raise my own children.  They want what they want and usually don’t understand what is involved in getting it.  Mostly, they don’t get the concept of things costing money or time or effort.  They’re young, so I don’t consider it a lost cause by any stretch of the imagination, but I want to make sure that I seize the teaching moments along the way to help them understand how things happen.

We’ve made our kids wait for things and they have seen the benefit of that.  Wait for a video game to be on the market for 6 months and you will be pay a significantly lower price than you would pay if you bought it immediately.  Wait until you have the money to buy something and it might go on sale.  Wait until everyone is free to go on a trip so that we can enjoy it together.

Those are the easier and less significant things, how about the more important things in life?  If we’ve lived enough of life ourselves, we probably have a pretty good concept of this.  Maybe we’ve seen what happened when we got what we wanted right away.  When that happens, there can be a loss of appreciation for whatever it is that we get.

Not only is there a loss of appreciation, but there is also a loss of anticipation.  When we know what we want and reach out and grab it right away, do we ever anticipate anything?  Especially our children.  When they get everything that they want right away, do they really learn the value of waiting, do they really learn the value of anticipation?  They have no concept of the growing excitement that comes when you finally get something that you have anticipated for days, weeks, months, or even years.

I know that I will fail in this area, but I also know how important it is for my kids to learn to anticipate.  Wait for it……wait for it…….wait for it.  Waiting kind of sucks, but it’s also pretty formative, it shapes and molds us and we grow to appreciate those things that we have waited for the most.

One day, my children will hopefully get married.  I hope that there is a growing sense of anticipation for them on that day.  I hope that the sense of anticipation that they have had for that day will lead to a great appreciation for all that the day means to them.  I hope that they learn the value of waiting for something.  They will experience other things in life that they have anticipated for a long time.  Turning 16.  Turning 21.  Getting out of the house.  Going on vacations.  Finishing school.  Lots of things.  The things that I value the most are the things that took me the longest time to finally achieve.  That’s not to say that I don’t appreciate certain gifts and other things, but those don’t come along every day, so I definitely appreciate them.

What do you appreciate?  What have you had to wait for?  What have you had given to you without having to wait at all?  Do you look at all things the same?  Maybe it’s just me that sees things this way, but I think I’ve seen it enough in other people to know that there is a deeper truth to the sense of anticipation and appreciation that comes from waiting.  Next time you want something right away, ask yourself what might be gained if you simply wait for it.

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