22 Sep

I remember a day when I was so tired from my job that when I finally arrived home (through notorious Boston traffic), I just sat at the kitchen counter and stared blankly into the sink, watching the faucet drip. I knew I had to shift gears soon, so I began thinking about my boys and what I had to do next. At that moment, Ian, Max, and six other boys came running into the house. My semi-conscious trance ended abruptly just as my other job began. The kids dropped their backpacks on the floor, headed straight to the TV, and began playing video games.

Listening to the inane music of their high-energy games for hours on end can stretch the limits of an adult brain, to say the least. But I reluctantly transitioned from my trance and focused on the needs of the group that had just thundered past me like ponies to a watering hole.

Tolerance is a difficult mechanism to get going. Sometimes it is like trying to find the first gear on a Mack truck – I am not sure it is easy for anybody without a lot of practice. Our days are filled with minor situations and experiences that continually test our capacity for tolerance—from poorly timed traffic lights to roller skates left out in the rain.

It never really ends.

Constant change and interruption have a cumulative effect. After so many accommodations of tolerance, it seems as though we run out.

Inconvenience and inefficiencies are natural; the sooner we accept this fully, the more easily tolerance will come to us. This really comes down to a sense of acceptance for the things we cannot change. I have found that people who fully understand that the hurdles we face each day are simply part of life are the ones who embody an attitude of flexibility and acceptance, and are ultimately less agitated or upset. This is not a passive position, but rather a position of consciousness or awareness. This may seem like common sense, but it is still unusual. If we are constantly upset by little things, then when we actually encounter a significant problem, we loose control and yell at our kids. This relates to the often-insatiable need for control which is a formula for failure in so many situations.


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