“We have to practice patience.” That’s a phrase my mom used to say to us often growing up. In fact, we learned a song in children’s choir that got me through all sorts of situations like waiting in line at the grocery store or for a friend to get home so we could play. The lyrics went something like this:

“Be patient, be patient, don’t be in such a hurry
When you get impatient, you only start to worry
Remember, remember, that God is patient too
And think of all the times when others had to wait on you”

In an age of 24/7 news cycles and the instant gratification of social media, video games and streaming services, it’s more important now than ever that we “practice patience.”

This weekend at dinner, our kids brought up the election and asked when we will know who the President is. They were only 8 and 10 during the last presidential election so this is really the first one they’ve been old enough to really pay attention. The question sent me down a rabbit hole about the electoral college, hanging chads, and contested elections which is not what they wanted to hear. They wanted me to say “at midnight” or “Wednesday;” but as we all know, for many reasons, it’s just not that simple. The US Chamber provided a great piece late last week on this very topic that I believe is an important reminder for all of us.

Here are just a few of the highlights:

  • More than 60 million Americans are expected to vote by mail this year, nearly double the number who voted by mail four years ago.
  • In 20 states, mail-in ballots postmarked on or before Election Day, that arrive later, will still be counted.
  • Even under normal circumstances, election outcomes often take time to finalize. In 2000, for example, it took 35 days to determine the presidential election.
  • Did you know: The deadline for states to certify their electoral college votes is December 14. This year, it may take that long.

Here’s the big takeaway, we must prepare to be patient. Set the example for your family, your friends, your followers online, and in the workplace. Being patient is hard, that’s why we have to practice. Younger generations need us to model this – they didn’t have to wait for pictures to get developed, or the paper to come out to know what’s playing at the movies this weekend, or for the DJ to play your song request on the radio or daddy to get home from work to tell him that you made the team.
We text, we tweet, we order delivery on apps on our phone. We take, edit and post photos online in seconds. We are all now conditioned to get what we want when we want it. Voting simply isn’t that simple.

I want to leave you with this parting thought I saw on a friend’s Facebook page this weekend.

“You know what I’m going to do the day after Election Day if my candidate loses?

Go to work.
Be happy.
Live my life.
Love others.

If he wins? Same.”