I accompany my teenage son to the bus stop each morning. We know the schedule. It arrives between 6:34-6:36 a.m. Day after day, morning afterI thought it was the same time as usual morning, we make it a few minutes before the bus comes. Today when we left, I had no watch or phone to check the hour, but I thought it was the same time as usual. I wasn’t wearing my contacts or glasses. As we made it up the hill that leads from our building to the bus stop, we saw a bus pass and I couldn’t tell what number it was. No one was at the stop to ask.

“Oh no, we must have missed the bus! Just go on the first bus that goes towards the city center and transfer,” I urged.

He heard me, and in that way that Israeli children are famous for told me with a hand signal, “Patience, Mommy.” I’m not patient, and I worried that he would be late. Starting to get stressed, I again encouraged him to get on a bus, any bus. Again, he gave me the hand signal of patience. A mere two minutes passed, and then we saw his bus coming.

How did he know?

I patted him on his shoulder like I do each morning and with a sigh of relief wished him a good day. His eyes met mine, and he boarded the bus.

Patience! How many times do I say to my children: “Patience! Dinner is almost ready.” They complain, they’re hungry. “Just a few more minutes,” I tell them. “Really, it’s nearly done.”

We are in line at the store, and I know intellectually that my turn will come and yet I must remind myself, “Patience!” Because there is an irrational part of me that thinks the line will never end or that my turn will never be. And this just isn’t true. I just need patience.

I realized on the way home from seeing off my son this morning that within the test of having patience, there’s a certain amount of suffering a person must go through. But by not having patience, we cause ourselves to suffer more than we need to. We suffer in our waiting. We suffer more by not waiting. And I’m not just talking about waiting for the bus. It’s waiting for a job or your soulmate. It’s waiting children to arrive. It’s the waiting of life, and for things to grow and to fall into place. All this waiting, and we become impatient and want to leave the test of waiting behind and board a different bus. Even if it’s the wrong one.

The word in Hebrew for “patience” is savlanut. The root word for savlanut is sevel, “to suffer.” It’s not a coincidence.

How many times do I feel like giving up? Not only in aHow many times do I feel like giving up? situation, but on a person, a dream, on myself? How many times do I jump to do something out of fear that if I wait, it won’t get done? How many times do I not give someone or something else a chance?

Later that evening when my son came home, I asked him how he knew to wait and not take a different bus. His reply was so simple. “We left at the right time. I knew it would come, and after 10 minutes if it didn’t, then at that time I would have taken a different bus.” There’s wisdom in that answer. I looked at him, no longer a small boy. He’s maturing, becoming a man. A man who is, G‑d willing, learning the importance of patience, the importance of giving things a chance.

I look outside my window and see a giant tree that reaches to my second floor. I imagine 40 years ago when it was planted. It was probably a sapling or maybe even a seed. Think of all the patience that goes into the growth of a tree. What if a person uprooted it after a mere season, thinking that nothing was happening? Would they realize that with a lack of patience, they could deny the sapling’s potential to grow into a tree?

The Torah compares man to a tree, as it says: “The human being is a tree of the field.”1 I think it makes this comparison because we grow, like a tree, with patience.

I tell myself, “Elana, give it some time! Be patient, and you’ll see that the majority of things you worry about will no longer exist. Why are you causing yourself undue anxiety and stress? Have patience, and let G‑d take care of the outcome.”

Yes, it’s seems like I, too, am growing, with patience, alongside my son.