At first, I thought it was just me. Maybe I was out of practice. After all, when the pandemic hit, I went from driving hundreds of miles per week to only a few each month.
As I emerged from our lockdown and started venturing a bit further each day, I encountered reckless, distracted, scary driving. We all seemed like we were out of practice. And in fact, the non-profit National Safety Council published that the fatality rate per miles driven spiked 24% in 2020, the largest annual percentage increase observed.
I'll admit that I'm a cautious driver. And so, for several weeks, it was not uncommon for me to find drivers honking at me, impatient with my desire to wait until the intersection was clear before proceeding.
But then, something magical happened. My daughter got her driving learner's permit, and we affixed this wondrous magnet to our car. "Student Driver: Please Be Patient."
And I kid you not, suddenly the honks were fewer, the opportunities to merge easier, and the friendly waves more common. (And a joyful side-note - this happened not only when my daughter drove, but when I did as well!). It seemed like all my fellow drivers needed was a little reminder - that we're all learning, and that we can all be more patient.
It got me thinking... where else in my life could I show more patience? Where else am I (or others around me) apprenticing and learning new things? How could I do a better job of supporting others with patience, curiosity, and openness?
We are doing something most of us have never done before - coming out of a pandemic. As we embrace our return to togetherness, delight in doing all the things we missed, and being with the people we have longed for, how could we all show each other more patience? We have an opportunity to craft this re-entry in a way that allows for listening, for learning, and for practice. I for one am going to try to bring patience - for myself and others - into this exciting adventure that lies ahead of us. And... I intend to keep this magnet on our car as long as I can!