“Constancy or Inflexibility”

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My maternal grandfather also was in the Army during World War I though he never left the United States. Here he stands in his uniform, a picture of constancy, a recognized virtue. But what distinguishes constancy from inflexibility? Why is one praised and the other criticized?

Reflecting on this pair of qualities, I decided that constancy has more to do with deep seated character rather than any particular action. A person with constancy remains predictable in her qualities such as kindness, compassion and forbearance. However, we would not expect her to always eat only turnips or only dress in purple. She could remain constant in her core but flexible in her choices. I expect her “I never would” statement might refer to never hitting her child. Meanwhile she might accept someone very different from herself when given the chance. She would be inflexible only if she said “I never would” talk to a Libertarian.

I have not heard constancy discussed much in recent years. The focus always seems to be on the new, the unique, the “cutting edge.” But what I value most in people is their steadfast character. Something we could all use a little more of in the United States at the moment!

13 thoughts on ““Constancy or Inflexibility”

  1. I so agree that constancy is an enviable character trait…I have pondered that, because society has become more transient with people relocating frequently, we may lose the sense of constancy in relationships. The people may remain constant in character, but it’s hard to keep up when people move away.

  2. Great topic. I have been doing much thinking and research on racial relations between women – specifically between black and white women. Check the FB page Red Table Talk and there’s a great video with Jada Smith and Jane Eliot on this, I think you’d really get a lot out of it. I’m going to do a blog on this topic very soon and will have a link to this video in my blog. Thanks for sharing your thoughts here! Keep on writing!!! Peace! ~~MB

  3. Children need steadfastness in the adults in their lives, it is very important to have consistency as it brings a sense of peace & wellbeing for them. Where inconsistency leads to hyper vigilant behavior & anxiety disorders.

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