It is often and correctly said that patience is a virtue. I have discovered over the years the unfortunate truth that this particular virtue does not simply get passed down from one generation to the next. My Father is one of the most patient individuals I have ever met, no one would say the same thing about me.
For some reason one of the best illustrations of my Dad’s patience popped into my mind today. I remember when I was sixteen and wanted to get my license, Dad and I would go for a drive, I would drive and Dad would look out the window, not saying much. Another one of my Dad’s traits is being a man of few words, also a trait that I apparently missed out on. The driving part was pretty easy. But then came parallel parking.
We went someplace where they had the poles out to practice parallel parking. If my memory is correct, it was at the back-end of the Salem Mall parking lot. My attempts to park were not going that smoothly. With each failed attempt, I became a bit more frustrated. So, I did want any sixteen year old would do, I started to complain and take out my frustrations on my Father.
Even a rubber band can only be stretched so far and I had stretched my Father’s patience to its limit. After several outbursts on my part, my Dad turned to me and with a calm voice said, “Why don’t you just settle down and try again. If you keep going on you are going to make me mad in a little bit.” I knew that my Dad was a patient man and I also knew that I did not want to make him made. I quickly shut up and returned to the task of parallel parking. I learned a lesson about patience that day which has stuck with me ever since. By the way, I passed my driving test on the first try.