Parents and patience

There’s a lovely story of a father and son sitting in the garden. The father points to the sparrow and asks “what is that?”
“A sparrow, dad.” – the son replies before getting back to what he’s reading.

The father repeats the question. The son attributes it to old age and repeats.

This happens five times and by the fifth time, the son is annoyed and screams at his father.

Once they’re home, the son helps his father back to his room. He notices a few diaries in the book shelf, opens them up, and begin reading. As he flips through the pages, he finds a page called “Sparrow.” It said – “Today, my son asked me what a sparrow is twenty five times. I made sure I never got angry or impatient – instead, I gave him a loving hug every time he asked me the question.”

The son had tears in his eyes as he gave his father a hug and apologized for his behaviour.


I was reminded this story as I sensed myself getting impatient last night on a call with my mom helping her with preparation for a presentation. I was hungry and rather irritable and as I could feel the impatience rise, I remembered the many times my mom had sat up late in the night helping me with preparation for my presentations in school. I don’t think I demonstrated much impatience last night but have been guilty of doing so in the past.

Sometimes, we take the view that it is okay to take our frustrations on our loved ones. If we didn’t do so with them, who would we do it with after all?

That’s bullshit, unfortunately. Venting doesn’t help us learn self control. Exerting self control helps us learn self control. And our loved ones deserve our best behaviour, not our worst.

This moment made me realize how grateful I am to be able to give a bit back to my mom. I’m sure we all have those opportunities to do so with our parents. Let’s use them well.

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