by Mohamed A Khalfan (Dar es Salaam, Tanzania)
PATIENCE WITH FAMILY – ITS RIGHT, NOT A FAVOUR
The driver in a car hooted his car-horn to indicate his impatience to the driver in the car in front. He did it not to prompt the front car-driver to drive on like it is done when the road ahead is already clear. It was because a passenger was seen being let to alight from
the front car. The “front car driver” let the passenger alight at that point of time because it was convenient for the passenger to do so as the car had to halt anyway to await the traffic green light signal clearance. It is known that it normally takes less than 10 seconds for a passenger to alight and any frantically impatient hooting would make no difference in the human speed and duration possible for
a person to alight from a car. And yet during that period of time the impatient driver gave one additional honk which was longer to
indicate now his anger.
In the meantime, the other motorists behind not knowing that it was the traffic at a junction which had caused a halt joined the “impatient car driver” in a noisy chorus of honking their horn. He took this as a support for his honking.
A control of the steering wheel with the horn gadget a finger-tip away gave the rear car driver a “sense of power”. He finds that he must use it even when it is not due – to have the feel of that power. Besides, his confinement in his car offers him also a sense of physical security.
If it were a cart-pusher instead who was obstructed behind by the front car he would not have demonstrated a similar frantic impatience though he laboured physically with goods laden for delivery while he is also under the hot sun. He has no gadgets in his control to give him a false status of authority or a “sense of power”.
We do come across such occasions of witnessing others’ impatience often while we take a ride as a passenger. The one who is behind the steering wheel shows immediately his impatience with his emotions heightened as soon as a vehicle in front momentarily halts for reasons known to him as valid or normal.
What is however, important to note is that this is not the behavior of all drivers. There are those, and not a few, who see such occasions
not even as a test for patience because these are normal unless it involved a pedestrian engaged in talking with a car – driver a few seconds longer while the traffic should be moving on again.
It is on such occasions of a heavy traffic, that we get to know who among the drivers, we get a ride with, are humble and refined in behaviour through demonstration of patience, and who are not. But then there are even worse examples found in our homes. The person can be the father or the husband or any one else who is the head in a family; He too feels a “sense of power” and applies it, as a habit, in dealing with his family.
The exercise of his power over the meek family is seen in terms of his impatience rising to anger in almost daily incidents for no valid or sane reason. There can only be one valid reason excusable though – lack of sanity beyond his control – only if he admits it. He will not. But then he is the boss and knows that all bosses must be respected, regardless of their worth in character and disposition.
So he rings the door bell at his house and impatiently does it immediately again once or twice even though he knows of the time taken normally to answer the bell quickly. He does not learn. His false sense of power has the better of him.
Or the one who sits at the dining table earlier at a time of his choice without a prior notice, and shouts if he is not served immediately or quickly, when it takes a few minutes for the food to be re-heated. Or he impatiently shouts for his ironed pyjama and a bathing towel
while at the door of bathroom. Worse still, he impatiently honks the horn repeatedly as soon as he arrives in his car to pick a member of the family as if expecting the member to jump down from a balcony instead of descending the staircase. His impatience is even greater if he arrives either earlier or without a prior time having been set and he is made to wait a couple of minutes longer.
They are mostly the types who never undertake self-service like others in fixing themselves a meal already cooked, or preparing themselves for the daily shower or volunteering to answer the door-bell. Doing these is against their nature of being self-centred when they have nothing else real worthy to fall on. It makes no difference in their behavior even if they knew of the duration, which is necessary for a task they ask to be done. It does not cross their mind that they are oppressive to the family and there are many others to whom patience comes naturally without being conscious or deliberate about it.
The sad part of the whole thing is that persons with impatience, are not aware that their behaviour is not fair and that many others in
the same position behave differently, and more, with compassion to the family even if a delay occasioned is not normal.
Part of Life
The situation is even worse where a family suffering from such behaviour of impatience at the hands of the head of the family is also agonized by poverty. His worries because of poverty make his patience run thin. The incidents of even small delays for however valid reasons become intolerable and the members of the family are made to feel humiliated on a regular basis as part of their life. We do know that the sin of Haq un Naas (the Rights and Dues of Others) will be one of the major sins that will haunt us after death unless forgiven by the parties sinned at. Instead of the false sense of power, the head of a family is required to have a sense of duty towards his family. One aspect of that duty is compassion as the family’s right.
This life is but a fleeting moment; and we are soon gone. There are in contrast those among the heads of family who are tearfully missed whenever they are mentioned in the family after they are gone. Their fragrance left behind lingers on, They took compassion as their family’s right and not a favour. Impatience over service or attention for them at homes had no room in their compassion. Let us remember, your measure as a compassionate person is by a yard-stick of the number of things you can easily do at home for yourself instead of burdening your family and then paying them back with the outbursts of impatience.
In conclusion, impatience as a habit is a trait of weakness in a person. It gives the sign that he lacks both, self-confidence and a sense of security. And therefore, without any need for a hurry, he jumps a queue, wriggles in or out through a crowded mosque entrance and cuts you short before you complete what you are saying to him and is therefore prone to jumping on a conclusion which is not, and cannot be, safe and sound. He is not a person who can build up for himself a refined personality with a congenial disposition. He can however be educated and seem pious which camouflages his true-self.