On Patience and Paper

284 Cranes“If I could store any character quality in a cookie jar, I’d store patience. Chocolate-chip patience cookies. And I’d eat them all at one sitting.”
– Jarod Kintz, This Book is Not for Sale

In Japan, there is a legend that states that if you make a wish and fold one thousand paper cranes then your wish will come true. In the west, we make a wish upon a star or blowing out the candles on a birthday cake. I think I prefer the Japanese version. It showcases a difference in our cultures.

We gain our wishes through an ephemeral magical action that lasts only a moment and then is snuffed from existence. Their wishes must be earned through hard work. There’s still an element of magic to the wish, but you don’t have the option of just sitting back and letting the universe hand it to you.

Looked at another way, the cranes serve a real purpose. Your wish is given time to come true, and you learn patience through this small simple act. Each crane takes no more than a minute to fold, but taken en masse a year may pass. As one small cranes grows into one hundred, two hundred, five hundred, you start to question whether this is worth the time. You have to be committed and focused. In short you have to wait.

I don’t have that level of patience yet, but I’m on my way. My teacher is my daughter, and at the age of two patience is her finest lesson. She started teaching it to me before she was ever born.

Hanging in her room are 284 cranes. Inside each crane is written a wish for her life. A word, a quality, a want. Something I want for her. I started folding them for her the day my wife shared the good news, and by the time she was born I had one for every day she’d lived from conception on. I learned not only the patience of folding and focus, but of trying to come up with 284 positive things to want for a single person. It should be simple, but it became a herculean struggle by the end.

It’s one thing to wish your daughter laughter and loyalty, but by the end I was searching for things like a fast metabolism and to be an effective orator.

I didn’t need 1000. I got my wish. I got a beautiful, healthy, fun little girl I call Blondie Bear. She’s my win every week.

She totally wins at life.


This blog is a collaborative outlet for a group of Creative Writing Students. We take turns posting one day a week to share our favorite “wins” in our lives. I’m JK and mondays are mine. Anything I post will be signed -JK. If you want to read more of my posts, they are tagged JK as well. Thanks for reading!


One thought on “On Patience and Paper

  1. What beautiful sentiments. I believe there is nothing in the world that makes us sit up and look at the beauty of the world as when we watch through the eyes of a child, especially our own children. May you find a new and exciting wish for your little girl for each of the next 700+ cranes! – Bill M


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