Friday, March 12, 2010

Patience Is a Virtue

When I was growing up my Dad always told me "Patience is a virtue." Not surprisingly that little saying never added any patience to my repertoire. I think I could have written it on the blackboard ala Bart Simpson and never grasped its meaning. While it was good info I never really gained anything from that knowledge.

Patience is not my strong suit even to this day. I am one of those people that can't stand to wait in line at Wal Mart. No one ever goes fast enough for me. When I get ready to go somewhere ahead of time I end up leaving early because I can't sit still and wait. Of course then I have to wait when I get to my destination early, but that never registers with me beforehand.

I want everything right now. I don't have time to wait. Since becoming a father I have been studying at the real world school of patience.  A parent without patience is in for a long hard ride. So us impatient people have to learn fast.

Maybe when my Dad was telling me "Patience is a virtue" he should have given me some examples. Doing patience building exercises would have helped more than reciting the patience motto.  He could have told me about the benefits of patience and then handed me a screaming baby. In that case I would have to learn to be patient because screaming babies do no listen to reason and they will not stop crying just because you ask nicely.

Maybe waking me at 3 am to hand me a wide awake baby that wants to play would have been a good lesson on patience. Just like with the crying a baby cannot be convinced to go to sleep by sound reason. These are the type of lessons I learn every day as a father.

There are the times when Braden points at something he wants. He will get very upset if you give him the wrong thing. He will continue to get upset until he gets what he wants. I have emptied entire drawers trying to find the elusive item his heart desires. Patience.

Back to sleep deprivation. Sometimes Braden likes to throw all night parties. He will laugh and scream all through the night making sure no one else can sleep either. Patience.

There are times when I do something to entertain Braden, and he decides he would like me to do it again one thousand more times. Patience.

He likes me to pick him up so he can dunk the basketball in his goal over the closet door. He likes to do it a lot. Patience.

Braden, like all kids, gets a little temperamental sometimes when it is time to eat. He may not want to eat. He may avoid you. He may even spit out his food. Patience.

Sitting in the doctor's office is another patience trying exercise. Like Jerry Seinfeld says about the waiting room, "They have the room. They are going to use it." 

Waiting in a room full of sick strangers with a toddler is tough. I guess I could let him act like a wild animal like seemingly every other parent. Instead I try to keep him away from all the other people by trying anything and everything. Patience.

I think you get the point. Anyone that has ever had children knows about all these things. Raising a child is a daily lesson on patience. For those of us that have never learned that skill before in life, kids are our professors. They are the Dean of Patience. They are also the judge and the jury on our understanding of the topic.

No matter how many times I was reminded to be patient by my parents it never stuck. It would seem that patience is one of those virtues that is better taught to adults by children than the other way around.


Katherine said...

You are so right. I was exactly like you when it comes to patience. I had none!

Ethan teaches me every single day a new lesson in patience. And he, of course, has no patience.

PJ Mullen said...

I like to say "doctor's have patience, I don't" and every day I'm learning a little more how to be patient, but it is hard. Especially now that little man has taken to bossing me around. Not fun.

Doug @ Daddy's Tired said...

Here here...You think you have patience, then this beautiful baby shows up and you suddenly realize that your understanding of patience was not even close to what it really means.

otin said...

I am not the greatest with being patient myself, at least with some things. There are some times that I am very patient!

edathomedad said...

Very nicely put. I never truly learned patience till I had my daughter. Now, she is working on her patience.

surprised mom said...

Yes, I still have "Patience is a virtue" ringing in my ears from all the times my mom said it to me. Like you, I learned lessons in patience when I had children. I'm stilling learning it as they grow older. Now, however, I get to say it to them :) And, they too, are learing about patience.

john cave osborne said...

i'm not sure anything necessitates patience like children, my friend. good stuff.

Anonymous said...

Patience is a learned behavior that we have to choose each day with children