Be Patient

I know this won't come as a surprise to a lot you, but when I was a kid, I was notoriously impatient.

It drove my mother and father nuts. I really was that kid in the back seat, yammering, "are we there yet?" The difference was, I'd keep asking it — as my father calculated, about every mile or so. You live with that when your drive is a thousand miles.

You get the picture.

I wasn't much better when making requests, darn near demands of my father.

"When am I going to get a raise in my allowance?"

"When will I get my own room?"

And on and on. I was so obnoxious. I know what you're saying — not much has changed, Neil.

But my father's response was always the same: "We'll see." He never promised something he couldn't or wouldn't deliver.

He did the same when he took on this big job at his company. He had to turn around sales and fast almost as soon as he started his new assignment in Atlanta. I remember hearing his strategy at the kitchen table with my Mom, as if it was only yesterday. It went something like this:

"Guys, we can't turn things around today, or tomorrow, or next week, but we will turn them around. I won't promise you miracles, but I will show you improvement."

He kept expectations low and patience high.

Stick with it. Stick to it.

We could all use the same advice today.

This war is only a few weeks old, and now along comes a columnist in the Washington Post all but saying it's a failure. No Usama. No demolished Taliban. No victory. No way.

Somewhere out there I'm hearing my Dad, "for God's sake, this thing just started."

"Neil," he used to say, "you want instant gratification."

Gosh, he could have been saying the same about the rest of us.

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