Embarking on a new year, I’d like to talk about “patience.” Webster defines patience as a “calm endurance,” “persevering,” or “calmly tolerating delay.” While these behaviors are helpful when obstacles threaten to sabotage a goal, I’d like to consider “patience” in a more positive, intentional, and interactive way.
A recent movie I saw, “A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood,” centers on Mister Rogers and how he became so special to children and many adults. The intriguing portrayal of Rogers by Tom Hanks depicts a man with a deep passion for conveying a positive message to children: You are fine, just the way you are. But rather than preaching about this in his TV program, Rogers carries on quiet and patient conversations with his young viewers, inviting them to be his neighbor, his friend.
The film unfolds as Rogers develops a relationship with a magazine reporter who begrudgingly tries to write a 400-word article about this TV personality. Rogers senses the reporter carries a lot of anger and resentment. True to form, Rogers turns the table on the reporter by quietly asking him questions about his life. He patiently nurtures a trust that allows the reporter to deal with painful episodes in his childhood, leading to family reconciliations and an ongoing friendship with Rogers.
Moved by this, I intend to be more patient in active listening to others and more curious about what has shaped them, with an intention of developing trust and kinship with them.