Would you consider yourself patient or impatient? Often frustrated with his slowness, Paul taught me to be his teacher. Over the next few months I am going to take the poem from the introduction in Paulie and Me and break it down for you. I will expand on each line and elaborate on what it means to me. In doing so, I hope that it helps you in your own journey and self-awareness. As I ponder the messages I want to convey here on my blog, I find I continue to grow too. Thank you for that.

Often frustrated with his slowness, Paul taught me to be his teacher.

I am a person who has very little patience. When my mom was alive, she used to love sharing the story of me as a little girl, running up and down the sidewalk in front of our house with my baby carriage tipped up on its back two wheels. She would laugh as she described how the various dolls I had stuffed in there, barely held on inside the rocking buggy.

Moving quickly through tasks today, I still become easily frustrated and impatient when an unexpected detour appears. The dictionary describes patience as “the capacity to accept or tolerate delay, trouble, or suffering without getting angry or upset.” Using this definition, yes, I am sadly lacking.

To me, the capacity to accept or tolerate involves me trying to push down the gremlin within me that wants to jump out and scream. It’s been a lifelong and exhausting project, like reining in a rearing horse.  

At times when I am trying to teach my special needs and developmentally delayed brother something new, my lack of patience will rear its head. I will be carefully and slowly describing a process to him, when he suddenly asks a question that makes it quite clear that he hasn’t understood anything I had so meticulously just explained. I feel my pulse quicken, my neck tightens and a rebuttal catches itself in my throat. I stop, quietly pushing down the displeasure that has arisen.

But here is where my brother teaches me. As I stand there, fending off my salivating gremlin, I catch a glimpse of Paul’s face. His eyes meet mine with a look that says, Hey I think I got this, Bernice!Even though he doesn’t. It is in that moment that the scope of his trust in me halts that gremlin cold. As I draw in a deep breath, I begin to work on finding another way to explain.

For as long back as I can remember, it was always Paul that showed me how to be his teacher. He displayed it in the trust that emanated from his eyes, the look that said, I know you can do this Bernice. I know you can teach me. I believe in you. As you can imagine, this has helped my capacity and ability at every turn.

Our teachers come from the most unexpected places. I am grateful to have been given such a great teacher as Paul.

What about you? Who are the people (and/or experiences) in your life that have been your greatest teachers?

Kindest regards,


Author, Bernice Ranalli

Click here for more info or to purchase:

Paulie and Me – The Joys and Struggles of Growing Up with My Special Needs Brother

One thought on “Are You Patient or Impatient?

  1. Enjoyed your book. I admire how you were able to put your feelings into words. I feel you have a very special connection with your brother. Thank you for sharing.

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