I went to my badminton league last night. The talent varies widely from children (many better than me) to those who play in tournaments. My daughter wanted to attend with me. She had only played badminton a few times with the neighborhood kids, but considered herself a good player.
Once on the badminton court, we began to warm up by hitting the birdie back and forth. Well, I hit it and she would try. She had problems serving the birdie, and as her confidence decreased, she soon was not able to hit the birdie at all. I suggested she try hitting it anyway she was comfortable, but it grew worse until it looked like she was going to cry. I wasn’t sure what to do, but continuing seemed cruel, so I suggested we stop for the night. As I was talking with another woman on the sidelines, my daughter and I were invited to play the next game.
My daughter and I stood in the middle of the court and had a quiet discussion. I asked her, “Do you want to play?” My daughter said “Yes.” I thought the game would to be too much for her and she’d be humiliated, but didn’t want to tell her that. The facilitator came up and asked if there was a problem. I told him my daughter hadn’t played before. “No problem. This isn’t life or death,” He said, “Let’s see what you can do.”
My daughter misses her first serve. I cringed. But his reaction changed everything. “Let me show you how to hold the racket,” he offered. And she is instructed for a half hour by him and another man on how to properly serve. They were genuinely patient and happy to do it. It was like watching Buddha teach badminton! The woman next to me began to observe the instruction and practice the “new” technique. Then I joined in. It became a learning session for all of us. And my daughter’s confidence went up and she enjoyed herself.
I saw such a gap between the men’s level of patience and my own. Their patience changed the situation into one of learning and love. Their perception changed the outcome. I want that level of patience for myself.