I have note several other things as well:
Thing One: I note that folks have a bit more energy suddenly. At the Y I go every day to exercise, people were actually smiling all through Zumba class last week and I sure don’t remember a lot of smiling in Zumba during July and August. Over the last few months we’ve been fighting our way through air so thick we’re feeling our ribs to see if gills have sprouted yet. Now though, there’s a spring in all our steps, even when the teacher has us hop on one foot while turning in a circle.
Thing Two: I notice people are lining up outside the cobbler’s shop, getting their shoes resoled. In summer we are all in sandals. Soon, we will all be in our ‘real’ shoes and every teenaged girl in the country will be back in her Uggs.
Thing Three and Four: I note that flu shots are suddenly being offered at various pharmacies. I also see kids going to the doctors,’ many of them to get their forms filled out for school and sports.
I was with one such youth who needed a physical so he could play football. I brought him in for that.
This youth is nearly 17 so I didn’t go in to the exam room with him. However, his doctor kindly came out to the waiting room to speak to me afterward.
“Well, it’s too bad he hasn’t had his growth spurt yet,” he began with somber demeanor.”
I just looked at him, perplexed, until he went on:
“The nurse practitioners just clocked him at six-foot-four but I’m pretty sure that’s just because she couldn’t reach any higher. Does six-foot-four sound right to you?” he asked the tall boy, who smiled widely.
“At our first practice the coach said I was six-foot-five.”
I guess everything grows in the summer: The grass, the trees, our children.
And last but by no means least I come to Thing Five, a show of patience that I witnessed in the parking lot outside this same doctors’ office:
As the boy and I pulled into a parking space close to the building that houses this pediatric practice, we noticed a car next to us, its rear door flung open and a man in a baseball cap leaning into its interior.
We didn’t look closer; it seemed rude to. Instead, we went inside and the teen had his physical – but when we came back out again the car was still there.
The door still stood open.
The man still leaned into its interior.
It was only when we came right up to my car beside this one, that we understood what we were seeing: a father, speaking in patient and earnest manner to a little boy in a car seat, wiping tears and clinging to his blanket.
“Immunization Day!” the dad called to us cheerily. “We’re here for our shots! Aren’t we buddy?” he said to the little boy.
And with that, murmuring all the while to him, he lifted the child ever so gently from his car seat and carried him into the building, and this last show of patience seemed just the best thing to witness as the work of a new year begins.
Leading any young person from a customary place to a new place takes a patient forbearance exactly like what we had just seen enacted over 30 minutes’ time.
And so do I here bless all teachers, parents and leaders who demonstrate this virtue’s power by modeling it in their own behavior.