If there is one comment that always makes me laugh on the inside, its related to a parent’s thoughts on my level of patience. Usually these comments occur while I am walking a patient through a difficult activity, and mom or dad’s comments come as a complete surprise! Such was the case recently while walking one of my bright 11 year old female patients through an estimated distance activity, and her mom interrupted with “I commend you for your patience because I am going nuts over here”. I just looked at her and smiled, but inside, I was laughing hysterically.
Let’s just level the playing field – patience is not one of my strong suits. Probably have my Type A Italian father to thank for that. As a parent, patience with my kids is something I constantly work on, and an area in which I am my strongest critic. 🙂
Patience seems to be a matter of perspective though. Guarantees if my kids are out of line, or sidestepping activities they should be succeeding in, I’m first to let them know it. I’d imagine any parent observing in the VT room feels the same way when their child is unable to “connect the dots”, no matter how obvious the answer seems. In my professional capacity though, my sights are less on the cooperative behaviors (although I am still monitoring them) and more on the self discovery available to the patient. I’m more focused on keeping all options open for a patient to discover rather than concerning myself with the outcome, that “what they are doing” and “what they should be doing” become one in the same.
Although I appreciate the compliment, when parents admit their level of anxiety in watching their child struggle in the VT room, I try to seize the moment and remind them that patients need our patience before hitting their stride. Even the fastest creature on earth has a brief second where they are moving slowly. Acceleration takes time.
Be patient. It’s worth the wait.