Patience is a virtue, right? That’s a familiar phrase we all know. So is “Have the patience of Job.” Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote, “Adopt the pace of nature; her secret is patience.”

We need to think about patience, and our lack of it. What made this so critical a point were two similar incidents we have witnessed at the same crosswalk on Wagar Road in Rocky River.

Every day, children walk or ride their bikes to this marked crosswalk just south of Lake Road. There is no crossing guard. It’s a scene repeated before and after school here and at similar crosswalks everywhere.

What always happens here is drivers see the school children standing there and they stop. Children cross the street and head to Kensington Intermediate School or home.

But on this day in the first week of May, as a car had stopped to allow children to cross Wagar and other cars stopped behind it, one driver in the line couldn’t wait. Apparently agitated, he zoomed over the double-yellow line and passed two cars. But fortunately he suddenly stopped when he saw children in the crosswalk. What could have been a fatal accident was averted. The driver who initially stopped gave him an earful, as did a parent watching this horror quickly unfold from the sidewalk.

This same incident happened at this crosswalk about a year ago. That time a city truck had stopped. A car couldn’t wait and drove around the truck only to come face-to-face with children in the crosswalk. Again, no one was hit or hurt. The driver stopped in time.

And it’s not just crosswalks. Almost weekly in this paper we publish an item about police citing a driver for passing a stopped school bus that’s loading or unloading children. On May 13, an 18-year-old driver hit two boys after they stepped off a school bus in Willowick. The Euclid woman drove around a school bus then drove off. She turned herself in the next day and faces charges of failure to stop after an accident, driving left of center, passing a stopped school bus and reckless operation. Neither boy suffered serious injuries. Both were treated at a hospital and released.

We can’t wait. We have to get somewhere. Fast.

What’s going on with our patience? Why can’t we wait?

We are living in a “Me First” era. What I want or where I need to go is more important than what you want. We all suffer from it at different points of our day. That’s what drives us to make wild, rash decisions. What I want is more important, often at the expense of safety or rational decision-making.

It used to be that microwaving a cup of water that took two minutes seemed an amazing feat. Now we grow impatient waiting for those two minutes to pass.

Our smartphones give us instantaneous answers, whether it’s a weather report, a sports score or some trivial tidbit.

And you no longer have to type into the phone. You can speak into it, making communication that much faster. And pushing us to want an answer that much faster. 

But let’s all take a moment to think before we act. Before we turn the wheel and push our foot on the accelerator. Take a moment to be patient like nature.

Let’s slow down.

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