Patience, - the virtue
By: Ron Neher, Natural Resources Conservation Service, Retired
September 19, 1967 I entered Naval Training Center in San Diego. It was my first day in the Navy and to be honest I didn’t really know what to expect. It was different from back home, - to say the least. All of a sudden everyone wanted you to move and do things faster and better no matter how hard you tried. Moving in a blur was inadequate and not good enough. Impatience was the order of the day. For close to an eternity we marched every day to various places of nowhere doing the same routines while at the same time attempting to improve in various ways. All I heard was, faster, faster, faster, move, move, move, - that’s not good enough! Two things you could look forward to each day were chow and impatience. I soon learned as a teenager that the best way to overcome that daily level of impatience was through patience. It finally paid off and boot camp ended. Later I realized the entire impact of boot camp and why recruits are treated the way they are.
No matter how old, young, rich, or poor we are, we all encounter events in our daily lives which become obstacles and require patience. Some of us are patient already, at least somewhat, - others not so. That is just how things are. Wishing for someone to be more patient is often times futile, which just isn’t going to happen. There are some things we need to get used to.
A brief definition of the word patience can be defined as “the state of endurance under difficult circumstances.” Sometimes difficult circumstances are personal and sometimes they belong to another, which one will also adopt to their life, in the hope to help someone with their current dilemma. The world goes around, so to speak, due to the various things in life which we encounter. If everyone was patient with never a cross word or action, then what would this world be? I guess various confrontations in life, of all kinds, are fuel for its daily spinning.
Patience in farming and ranching is a quality which is important to practice in the pearliest of times. I remember back in 1964, my dad took the opportunity to invest in a livestock operation. The rangeland on our place was looking good. Dad borrowed money from the bank and purchased 34 head of cattle. His plan was to let the cattle graze, gain weight, and sell later that year with a profit. Sound familiar? However, the weather didn’t cooperate, weight gains weren’t all that good, and beef market prices went south. When dad had to sell some of the cattle to pay part of the bank loan I vividly remember seeing a grown man cry. Sad days on a farm or ranch existed then as they do today.
On the bright side though, Dad was able to reverse the opposition with some of the remaining herd and turn a profit, - anyway somewhat of a profit, - and pay back the loan. What he did to overturn the dilemma he faced inspired me to get involved with a small beef operation. I later bought my first feeder steer at 17¢ per pound and added it to my FFA project along with the herd of sheep I already had.
Looking back on how dad overcame his financial obligation was inspiring to me, - even to this day. Diversity can help win over obstacles. The more talents, abilities, or otherwise opportunities you have, the more you can adapt to a circumstance that can be competitive. It is easy to throw in the towel and quit and sometimes taking your current losses and moving on is the best move. But patience will be the greatest value, - however much you can dig up.