I’ve been doing an experiment.
While trying to get my priorities in check, I’ve found it necessary to start practicing patience. And now that I’m starting to get slightly proficient at it, I’m hypersensitive to it and have noticed how little patience people have. (SQUIRREL – It’s just like when you quit smoking and then you can smell smoke like a half mile away.)
About the experiment… When I get into a situation where I find a severe lack of patience, I count. I count the seconds that it takes for whatever the situation is to end. It’s very interesting. The most obvious examples are while people are driving.
EXAMPLE #1 – THE SCHOOL PARKING LOT
The school my kids go to has no bussing system so parents drop their kids off during a very chaotic 15-20 minutes every morning. I watch adults fly through that lot like it’s a freakin’ NASCAR event (mind you, there are literally hundreds of people walking in and out of that lot during that 15 minutes… most of whom are children). One morning I watched a car speed up to the curb, swerve near it, and let their child out. The car behind them drove right up behind them – intentionally parking far too close to try and express their anger. And the second driver sat there waving her arms and just fuming. So I started to count. 8 seconds. That lady couldn’t spare 8 seconds to allow another parent to safely let their child out of the car and tell them ‘I love you’ before they went to school. And in today’s day and age, you never know how important that 8 seconds could be between you and your child.
EXAMPLE #2 – THE NEARBY SUBDIVISION
I live near a subdivision that has two entrance/exit streets. So no matter which way I go when I leave my house, I have to pass by one of them. Most of the time that I drive by, someone is flying toward the stop sign and they almost never stop before pulling out onto the road I am on. They pull out in front of me and I have to slam on the breaks to keep from hitting them. Then I follow them to the next corner where we both stop again. Even when I drive the speed limit (35 mph), I catch up to them by the next corner. They’ve gained nothing. So the last time I saw this, I counted. This one is only 5 seconds. Is that too much to ask to stop your car for 5 seconds until I pass so you don’t cause an accident?!?! (Related SQUIRREL: Heaven help those people if they ever hit my car and hurt my children. I promise I would literally rip them apart with my bare hands.)
I could go on and on with other examples. Home – oh yes, we have a patience problem here. Work – are you kidding me? I can barely name 10 people I work with who DON’T have a patience problem. My point is this… there’s no value and no gain by being impatient. And while I am certainly FAR from being GREAT at being patient, I’m at least trying my hardest to be GOOD. (Ironic disclaimer – I had to confess to my mom and brother today, while I was speeding to get to an event on time, that I am writing this blog post on PATIENCE and using driving examples. See… I’m not great at it, but at least I noticed it and slowed the hell down.)
As we head into the holidays, I expect all of us will have multiple examples for the experiment. Feel free to COUNT. 😀