Newsline , Society

Good Things Take Time

Posted on Monday, March 18, 2024
by AMAC, Robert B. Charles
Black letter board with motivational quote Good Things Take Time, closeup view

Good things take time. When I was four, my non-swimming, non-waterskiing father loved me, and thought his son should swim – and waterski. Impatient, his idea was grand but too fast. I balked. The more I balked, the more he insisted, until I imagined being a landlubber…but life is odd.

With sympathy for my father, who only hoped for me what he did not have, confidence on the water, and protection on a big lake, he meant well. It flopped.

Encouraged to swim, float, or jump off a diving board, my instincts said “no.” In huge skis, I was down before I “hit it.”  Good things take time, patience, and no hurry.

This brings me to a modern falsehood – that we can do big, good, meaningful things easily, be prosperous, strong, and better at everything without the frustrating, two-forward-and-one-back process needed, patience, the struggle needed for peace.

These days, half the country believes there is a cheat, shortcut, fast track to success. ChatGPT or “Artificial Intelligence” will do your homework, legal briefs, letters, and maybe the laundry. Smart houses and robots zap temps, lights, security, music, and even vacuum.  The latest drug will make you sexy, strong, and maybe able to play the piano.

But no, forget it. We all know it. If younger folks are susceptible, as they missed the WWII generation, Boomers too want the “Jetson life,” with a difference.

A well-earned retirement is that – well earned, a product of a life courageously lived, hard work, and savings offering a chance to travel, more family, and purposeful activities.

By contrast, the “get rich quick crowd” is spending their retirement before work. Put differently, by not leaning into work and sacrifice and saving, they lose their future. Lessons only learned slowly, failing and recovering, are priceless, and vital.

News media, social media, and “here’s a cheat” podcasts push laziness, disparage consistency, and forget earning through work, pride, and the dignity born of self-reliance.

A friend recently said, “Hey, you need to change your message, young folks do not believe what you believe…They want it all, think they deserve it, no work.” I looked at him, and thought about what that suggests about the future.

No, my message does not change, and never will. Fast, cheap, and easy is exciting, but steady, reliable, hard and incremental, learning and earning, is where it is at.

You may laugh at all this, think I am not with the times, and do not understand how good this fast-track stuff is, but I smile. The long way, hard way, steep slope, honest day’s work for honest day’s pay is the real way, mark my words.

And as for my father, who left too soon, he only wanted a son comfortable on the water, which he was not. That kind of thing takes time. I finally got there, with a swimming merit badge, lifesaving, waterskiing, and mile swim, joined the Navy, and with patience taught my kids to swim and ski. Life is odd. Good things take time.

Robert Charles is a former Assistant Secretary of State under Colin Powell, former Reagan and Bush 41 White House staffer, attorney, and naval intelligence officer (USNR). He wrote “Narcotics and Terrorism” (2003), “Eagles and Evergreens” (2018), and is National Spokesman for AMAC.

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3 months ago

Well, Robert, you are not with the times, but having lived 83 years I have learned your lesson also. The young ones are in for a rude awakening, I hope, if they live long enough. I’m enjoying life more now than I ever did when young and “doing” things too fast. And technology has speeded up life more. I’ll stay in the slow lane.

3 months ago

Right on Mr. Charles, you have it figured out.

Hatfield-Vance Patriot
Hatfield-Vance Patriot
3 months ago

Agree 100%. Patience and waiting could be my middle name. Much like double Dutch jump rope. Once you catch the rhythm while jumping in then Life is a bit smoother. Age and experience give space to be your authentic self.
Wonderful article…

3 months ago


Roger Wiley
Roger Wiley
3 months ago

Dr. Charles, I read your article with great joy. I was the opposite. My Father had to discourage me from jumping off the bridge into the lake below. I must ask, Sir, why do “good things” take time, But the destruction o “good things” is instantaneous?

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