Patience was far from my standard approach to irritating situations in my life when I was young. While I tried to keep my temper managed and handle circumstances calmly, eventually my pattern of behavior would become a “fly off the handle” reaction. In these instances I can’t say my lack of patience, which usually resulted in a tantrum, served any practical purpose. In fact, in retrospect, if remorse, regret and apology could turn back the hands of time to remove some of these instances and the things I said, they would no longer be a memory but a non-event.
As I entered early adulthood my temper remained volatile. The change in my approach to situations requiring patience arrived with the birth of my children. Once the life lessons of parenting began, and they were many and frequent, I began to realize that there was little room for impatience, to say nothing of tantrums, in the role of caregiver. When my impatience became unmanageable I would try to envision the love I felt projected forward. While I was far from perfect and there were still many occasions I could have handled better, I slowly developed a greater ability to maintain my objectivity to sense and analyze what would be the best solution. Rarely did my impatience foster the results I desired; in fact, it was generally calmness, detached observation, intuition and repetition which brought resolution. The lessons of growth in loving my children, as a mother, was my greatest life teacher.
In addition to being the primary caregiver for my children and other family as their lives came to an end, my experience served to reinforce the lessons of patience, love and compassion. The lessons of patience I learned from mothering my children, teaching them patience and perseverance, and becoming “mother” to my parents and brother when their health declined, can be stated in a few simple words: love is patient and kind. Once the concept became instilled, the truth, self discipline, strength and commitment required began to surface and it was easier to put my impatience to rest by repeating the words. It’s a simple concept which offers the opportunity to profoundly change your behavior and which, in turn, when projected toward others, changes the world around you. The words themselves bring you to a point of calmness when you realize that, in the final analysis, it is really only love and the attributes it creates within us which will be remembered as the most important gift we receive and offer.