Patience – the topicality of an old virtue

In the middle of the age of acceleration, a doctoral student investigates patience: In her cooperative doctoral thesis that was developed at the Coburg University of Applied Sciences and the KU, Bettina Siebert-Blaesing has investigated how young people learn to be patient and what they need patience for.

Patience is a matter of character. “There are simply different types of humans. Patience cannot be trained. But we can learn from experience”, says Bettina Siebert-Blaesing. In her doctoral thesis, the social education worker investigated the importance of patience, how it can be used as a resource to help young people get through difficult life situations in a healthy way and how this attitude can be taught to young people through targeted coaching. "Patience can be experienced, among other things, through calm, composure and good listening.” Does she also have a tip on how everyone can practice patience? "Deliberately queue at the longest line at the supermarket checkout!” She laughs. "Or at least let the person behind you go first. Try it! Giving way also works great in road traffic – and it is a beautiful experience to make other people smile.”

One of her interviewees told her that making time for other people out of your own available time also requires patience. Siebert-Blaesing enjoys working with young people. More than 25 years ago, she graduated in social pedagogy at a university of applied sciences and has gained extensive experience in religious child and youth work since then. She developed the idea for her doctoral thesis from practical experience.

"The starting point was the pressure to perform. An increasing number of young people show symptoms similar to a burnout – even before they start out into their professional life. When society is too hectic, you need tools to keep things under control.”

Together with Prof. Dr. Niko Kohls from the Coburg University of Applied Sciences, she put her approach into more concrete terms. The Coburg Professor of Health Sciences is one of the two doctoral supervisors of the cooperative doctoral project. Prof. Dr. Bernd Birgmeier, who is an adjunct professor in the team of the Chair of Social Pedagogy at the KU, is the first supervisor. Siebert-Blaesing wrote her doctoral thesis over the past seven years in addition to her actual work as a social education worker and supervisor and has now defended it with a very good performance.

The title of the thesis translates as: "Patience as a Resource for Health Promotion in Young Adults in Individual Coaching – Qualitative Survey in the Voluntary Social Year ". Her paper comprises a historical-philosophical analysis of patience as well as an empirical part. For the thesis, the doctoral student interviewed young people over a period of three years who had completed a voluntary social year at the Archbishop's Youth Welfare Office in Munich and Freising. "The transitional period between school and work is an interesting phase during which many decisions have to be made.” Patience is important for young adults, but not only in this phase. It is seen as a valuable resource for life. Parents as role models have a particularly formative function. "Teachers, trainers and social education workers can make patience an ideal topic of discussion in everyday interaction as well as in individual coaching sessions with targeted recommendations for action.”

Professor Birgmeier describes the work as a "milestone of empirical research for the scientific substantiation of individual coaching" and emphasizes the outstanding innovative achievement. Professor Kohls adds: "The role of patience in coaching work with young adults is an important, contemporary topic in the context of health promotion and social work that has not yet been extensively researched.” Thanks to Corona, the issue has become even more topical. "Currently, we are all turning into patience experts", says Siebert-Blaesing.