Respect, honour and patience


A few months ago, l had the singular honour of joining some astute leaders from different backgrounds at a Global Leadership Conference. At the meeting, I learnt about some practical ways of serving people. During the lunch break, I took notice of a man (possibly in his 60s) in a casual wear, arranging plates and cutlery set for the participants. From a distance, I kept my watch on this same man carrying a tray of food from the kitchen space to the dining area. In haste, some friends and l joined in to give this man, a helping hand. To us, we thought he was a kitchen staff who needed extra help. Anyway, we did our best to be courteous to this man.

When lunch was over, we rushed to the lecture room in high expectation of the third lecture from this world-renowned professor, some of us have already heard of his name but never met him in person. As we waited for the arrival of this professor, lo and behold, the man who served us at the restaurant entered the lecture room. To our amazement, that was the acclaimed professor in that field of discipline we were all yearning to learn from. Wow! Some of us exclaimed. For a few minutes, we couldn’t put our thoughts together as we struggled to accept this reality of life.

We couldn’t believe our eyes. That day, my perception about life changed. Several questions ran through my mind. What would have been our state, if we had looked down on that man at the restaurant? We would have missed a golden opportunity to encounter greatness. What about refusing to extend a helping hand to him at that time? We would definitely have lost a great moment to strike an acquaintance with such a great man.

That is how life is. Greatness is sometimes wrapped in a disguised or cloaked form. It only takes a discerning person to identify that treasure. In life, respect, honour and patience, as ‘siblings’, rule the world.

Time has a beautiful way of dealing with some of our pressing issues. Everything we so desire in life is governed by time. It takes a well-prepared mind to grab great opportunities at the kairos moment (opportune time). Remember, the only constant in the mathematics of life is patience. It is the virtue, cherished by the wise whose ‘eyes’ are in their heads. Yes, most wise people speak less and give every move a contemplative thought. That is the power of patience.

Respect connotes reverence for a person of authority while honour is a sign of integrity, decency and uprightness. The Oxford Dictionary further defines respect as ‘a feeling of deep admiration for someone or something elicited by their abilities, qualities or achievements’. To Merriam-Webster Dictionary, honour is defined as ‘to give special recognition to someone’. The privilege, reputation, credit, decoration and a keen sense of ethical conduct are all entrenched in honour. Respect and honour seem to be quite interconnected in value.

From my point of view, patience is also the ability to control our negative emotions. In addition, it is the power to restrain our ego from gross misconduct. A nice person is the one who controls his or her emotions in the most unlikely way. It’s the direct opposite of the one who only claims to be gentle or nice based on physical appearance but denies the power to withhold a negative lifestyle or response to life’s vicissitudes or variations.

In life, I have seen people who lost control of their emotions and paid dearly for their reactions. I have also seen some people’s bizarre responses to some pertinent issues which coated the true colour of their personality. Indeed, the true colour of a tea bag is only recognised in hot water and not under a cold temperature. Life is interesting! When we feel too big to be corrected, we lose focus in life.

One day, a mentor intelligently put a mentee to a test in identifying how he reacts to a situation. To this mentor, most of the actions of the mentee looked quite pleasant but he wanted to know the mentee better through a test. To the mentor, the mentee’s heart’s desire was closer but out of rage, the latter couldn’t pass the test of patience to encounter his dream. Within that moment, the mentee lost a great opportunity to have the answer to his request which could have been a mega surprise to him. Later, the mentee learnt from a hard way that men are in sizes but life is in phases. It takes patience to have our heart’s desire.

I see most people who pray, but they have no tenacity to synchronise the energy they exert in prayer with their character. Lack of patience makes some people miss great opportunities in life. My prayer for you is: May you never miss an opportune time when it knocks at your door. Don’t also forget that in this life, some opportunities are wrapped in a disguised form. It takes patience to gently unwrap them.

There are two groups of people in our world. There are those who welcome an advice on patience as a moment for a lifestyle audit; and the other, who see such an advice as a form of condemnation or strong disapproval. It is unwise to weigh an advice as a total denunciation instead of making intense self-assessment. Actually, it takes only a humble person to accept his or her weaknesses and make amends.

Everything we trust God for is closer to us; however, impatience, as a speck, can block our view from seeing the brighter side of life. In this journey of life, the ability to wait, withhold some ‘cooked’ words out of anger, or keep mute over a decision sends us to the zenith or acme of greatness. So, learn to suppress your negative reactions and respect people.

Remember, wise people are ‘doors’, so enter with care. In other words, great parcels are sometimes kept in a disguised form. Allow the spirit of patience, respect and honour for people to guide you in all your endeavours.


Today, as we learn about self-control, begin to do a deeper self-analysis of your life. Ask yourself, the following questions:

  1. What must be added to my frame of reality to increase my value as far as my relationship with people is concerned?
  2. What must be cast off in my life on the road to greatness? What are some of the habits I must do away with in order to appropriately re-count with people?
  3. What skill do I need to multiple my worth? Possibly, reading healthy books on emotional intelligence, leadership, management, etc. will help put my thoughts in good shape. As an added motivation, what form of counselling do I need to change my odd attitude, formulated over the years as a result of poor upbringing?
  4. What is dividing my attention from being the person I have been designed to be?

Remember, anything that does not warrant your personal growth, and divides your attention should not be entertained on your journey of accomplishment. Your growth to respect or honour people must be patiently and intentionally crafted!

Grab copies of the writer’s books from Kingdom Bookshop, KNUST, Kumasi and in Accra, contact: Mrs. Justina Asempa (Phoenix Insurance, Ringway Estates, Osu) on 0244 20 88 43 and Pastor Stephen Gyamfi (ICGC, Asylum Down, 054 679 7323). In Obuasi, contact: Sammy on 024 773 78 11.

The writer is an Academic, Visiting Lecturer, Leadership Consultant and a Reverend Minister with WordSprings City Church, Kumasi – Ghana.

Email: [email protected]

Leave a Reply