This I Believe

Matthew - Baltimore, Maryland
Entered on April 20, 2006

I believe in patience. I live as a volunteer residential counselor in a small group home. These boys have brought joy and happiness into my life; they have made me laugh and made me proud. However, they have also challenged me, made me angry and tested my patience.

Each day we start anew, going about a daily routine that is anything but daily or routine. I drive them to school, pick them up, cook for them and help with homework. I meet with their teachers and study for tests with them. They are the last people I see each night and the first ones I hear in the morning. Yet their presence is not only physical, when I am away I think of them and they are the last ones I think about before I go to bed; almost always, they are the first people I think of each morning. I am twenty-two and am beginning to understand the love of a parent.

I could not have come this far without patience. They do not think like miniature adults and it is not fair to expect them too. As high as my expectations of them are, I must remember patiently that so much of what they see and understand is for the first time. First loves, first failed test, first time feeling the need to break away from the nest. My children, some of them, were caregivers before living in Boys Hope Girls Hope, they were not always allowed to be children, they need control and act wiser than their years; I must have patience with them, because there is still a child within that comes out when I least expect it.

This world is a fast-paced, fast food, fast-internet place, yet no matter how fast things move, children will be children, and though the rest of the world seems to want to rush them into adulthood by forcing adult challenges on them sooner and sooner. I believe they will mature quicker and with more tools if I am patient. I see it in their eyes. Over time, sad eyes can glisten again, but only if I remember their strider is smaller and so it takes them longer to get somewhere, even the endless energy that gives them the stamina to run all day, is not a substance of the soul, which moves forward slowly always requiring patience.

I see around them a world that expects too much and gives them too much sadness. They always take it and rise above it, but not always at the speed that I want them to. They listen to me, respect me and understand reason but not always when I want them to. This opportunity has given me wisdom but only when I was patient enough to hear a child.