“What’s the matter, can’t she push that piece of junk any faster? There are people out here who actually want to go somewhere!”
Tim is in a hurry. It seems to his wife Cynthia that he’s always in a rush. “If she wasn’t yakking on the phone,” Tim rattles on, “she might have an inkling of what’s going on.” They drive closer to the railroad tracks.
Suddenly the bells sound, and the gates slowly descend. “Keep going! Keep going!” Tim bounces back and forth between the steering wheel and the back of his seat. The woman in front of him stops and waits—and continues her phone conversation. “Oh great,” Tim exhales. “Here’s another 20 minutes.” He rolls down his window and yells out. “Another 20 minutes, thank you, lady!”
“Maybe we can think of this as an opportunity,” his wife encourages.
“An opportunity? Tim responds. “For what? A stroke?!”
“No,” she says, a bit hurt. “To relax. Relish the moment.”
Relish the moment. Is she kidding?
Slowly the train appears and crawls across their view. Tim fumes. Cynthia is puzzled and hurt. A cold silence falls over them.
Often situations we deal with seem so critical at the time—making it through a traffic light, being first in line, seeing our team win. Yet, sometimes our insistence on a certain outcome prevents us from truly enjoying the activity in which we’re engaged. On reflection we find our perspective was skewed or our sense of crisis was misdirected. Some events, although not critically important, can produce negative outcomes by the importance we place on them.
Tim is still delayed by the train, and now there is a tense silence between his wife and him. What if Tim and Cynthia’s nine-year-old son Trevor had been in the back seat? What would the boy have learned?
We recall a professional basketball player who refuted the idea that he was a role model. He was a basketball player, that’s all. His contract required him to help win games, not to be a role model for kids. He was dead wrong. Anyone who makes his or her living on that large a stage inherits that role. Like it or not, the ball player was a role model. Kids looked up to him and patterned their behavior, good or bad, after him.
Be an example
As we’ve said before, fathers don’t operate separately from their children. We serve as role models in everything we do. Eyes are watching and ears are listening. It’s important to remember that we play a significant teaching role to our children in how we handle everyday situations. They learn from watching us.
So the next time someone is driving too slowly, the sport shop is out of your size, or your team loses, grab some perspective. Think of the other people involved, and remember the reaction you have can cap a great day and send a child a message about the best way to act.