Patience with kids

Child is the father of man is an old saying.  Most of us as kids always complain that our parents do not listen to us.  They do not have the time to answer all our inquisitive questions.  They are busy in their own world and tend to lose their cool when we pester them with our queries.  As a child, we feel each of our questions are closest to our hearts and we feel hurt when they are not answered.

On the other hand, as we grow old and have our own kids, our world view changes.  When our first child is born, we thank God for the blessings showered on us.  Our child is the most beautiful in the world and we commit to take care of them to the best of our ability.  As the child grows up and speaks the first word, we are elated.  We encourage them to speak and we are all ears to every conversation of theirs.

Now the kid grows up and has all the questions under the sun.  As they grow up, they keep testing our patience with endless questions challenging us every day of our life.   We end up asking God why did he bless us with a kid, who cannot stop asking us all day and night.  We forget that our life would have been silenced without a kid in our lives.

Now our kid grows into an adolescent.  The rebellious behaviour tests our patience to the limits.  We are told by elders, family members, friends and colleagues that we do not know how to parent our adolescent kids.  We need to lead them by example and restrain ourselves.  It may be easier said than done.  It is one thing to advise others and totally another to practise it as a parent.  All those who have gone through this know the definition of patience in real life.

Now our child grows into an adult and leaves home.  We grow older and our own kids do not have time for us.  Life comes a full circle.  We feel distressed that our kids do not talk or listen to us.  We eagerly wait for our kids to call us or visit us once in a way.  This is the way life progresses and we need to learn to live it that way.  All of us go through life and the earlier we realize the changing roles and needs in different phases of life, the better for us.

Now when our kids lose their patience at our persistent questions, we wonder why are they so impatient.  Why do they not respect us ?  Why cannot they find time for us.  Why are they not grateful to us for all that we have done for them.  So, again, life turns upside down.  We find ourselves in the same place as our kids were when they were young.  They had all the questions in the world and we neither had the time nor the patience to answer them.

It is this realisation that life is a full circle and each of us go through the same tests of our patience at different phases of life is a reality.  We need to learn to enjoy the curiosity (impatience) of kids, the adrenalin ( rebellion) of the adolescents, the maturity (silence) of the adults and the wisdom (intrusiveness) of the elders. 

Let us start today.

S Ramesh Shankar

Patience Pays

Is patience necessary in life ?  I am not sure but I am willing to examine it.   I recall I was a short tempered guy when I grew up.  This made me impatient in life.  I was not happy at my own pace of doing things.  As I ventured out of home and got into work, I realised that my impatience turned into anger.  I lost my cool at silly things and wasted more of my energy than others.  This made me less productive in life.

If I then move to the work place, I observe that all of us are in a hurry all the time.  We are competitive and hence want to outdo our colleagues each and every time.  We take up more than we can chew at work.  We want to prove that we are smarter than others. We are impatient for results every day.

If we move to our families, the situation is not different.  We want our children to grow up fast as we cannot deal with the tantrums of kids.  As children, we want to grow up fast we want to stand on own feet.  As newly married couples today we are so impatient that we are not ready to wait for nine months to have a kid and are willing to adopt or go for alternate methods.

What does all this teach us in life ?  It tells us that we want the results without investing in the efforts.  We want to win the game without playing the game.  Imagine winning a football match without playing for ninety minutes. We want to be the CEO within days of our joining the organisation.  If we feel, there is less chance, we want to start a start up so that we can become the CEO from day one.

All this implies that today the end is more important than the means to the end.  While Gandhiji said that ” The means to the end is more important than the end itself”.  If someone quotes Gandhiji to us, we may get impatient.  We may even say that this guy is outdated.  He needs to take a break or retire from work. I do not blame anyone for this since each of us are to blame ourselves.

If I look back, I realize that “patience pays”.  I have no doubt that if you put in your best, you will get the best.  The Japanese have always taught us that “fix the process, not the problem”.  We need patience to perform.  We need patience to be the best.  We need patience to excel.  We need patience to evolve as a good human being.   Some may turn around and say that one may realize this after one goes through a life of impatience.  It may be true for some and not for others.  Life teaches us many lessons along the way as we go through many events.  It is up to us to learn and become patient. Alternately, learn it late and be patient till you learn.   The picture of the two birds patiently waiting to catch the fish in the lake explains why patience pays.

The choice is always ours.

S Ramesh Shankar