This I Believe

Thomas - West Branch, Michigan
Entered on December 5, 2006
Age Group: 30 - 50
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When I was a child, the way my parents raised me was a big influence on my beliefs. My public and religious schooling have also helped form me into the person I am. However, learning the value of patience is my most important belief.

At ten years old, I accidentally shot a hole in the windshield of my dad’s boat. For my punishment, he let me choose between a two-week grounding or a spanking. I chose the grounding, but after five or six days, I couldn’t take it any longer. That’s when I told my dad I wanted the spanking. Instead of just being grounded, my lack of patience also cost me a spanking.

During my senior year of high school, I was working as a delivery person at a pizza place. While on a delivery, I passed a slow-moving vehicle. As I was passing the vehicle, I noticed a car headed towards me in the oncoming lane and failed to yield the right-of-way. The driver of the oncoming car had to take the shoulder of the road to avoid hitting me. That incident made me realize how important it is to have patience.

Now that I am married, having patience means more to me than ever. When my wife and I don’t agree on something, it helps me listen to her side of the issue. Patience also means not yelling at my child when she’s done something wrong. I can remember being yelled at as a child. It made me feel the size of a piece of dirt on the bottom of a shoe. Teaching my daughter with patience is equally as important. When she was learning how to tie her shoe laces, I didn’t just grab the laces and say, “Here, let me do it!” I was patient and talked her through the process step-by-step.

When I was a child, I didn’t believe in, or even think of, the value of patience. My last year in high school, when I almost caused an accident by running another driver off the road, I finally understood the importance of patience. It has helped me listen, not yell, and avoid taking over other people’s projects or activities. For me, having patience means taking the time to think of others before acting.