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In this together: Working to fit all the pieces together
Jan 05, 2012 | 914 views | 0 0 comments | 5 5 recommendations | email to a friend | print
BY Louise R. Shaw
BY Louise R. Shaw
She was not quite three years old and the puzzle was just hard enough that after several attempts, each one more frustrating than the one before, she handed it to me.

“You do it,” she said.

I took it and placed it near the space outlined but it didn’t fit for me either. So I turned it and tried again, then turned it and tried again, then turned it and tried again.

Finally, it fit and we moved on to the next piece, where the same scene was repeated.

“You do it,” she said.

“Turn and try again, turn and try again,” I said to myself just loud enough for her to hear as I worked on making it fit while she watched more patiently than when she was doing the same thing herself.

It wasn’t that I couldn’t have plopped it in its place perfectly the first time, in case you were wondering. It’s that I wanted her to learn how to play the game.

The lesson here isn’t: “Look how smart Grandma is.” The lesson is: “Let’s don’t give up even if it’s hard. Let’s just turn it a bit and try again because that’s just kind of the way things work.”

It’s a lesson I’ve been giving some thought when looking at a new year: Sometimes you don’t get it right the first time but that doesn’t mean you should give up or leave it to someone else.

I’ve written over the past several months about ideas with regards to organizing Christmas to make it less overwhelming and about the two sides to everything and the advantages of looking at the bright one.

I must now admit that I fell short on both suggestions at times, and had my share of I’ll-never-get-it-all-done moments and this-is-frustratingly-bad thoughts.

So now I’ve got a new year and a chance to turn it and try it again.

Each time we worked on the puzzle, my little companion figured out more quickly how to make it fit.

Each success made her more comfortable with the challenge and more confident in her ability to meet it.

And somehow, in no time she was putting the pieces together without any thought of asking for help.

And maybe if I think about it really hard, maybe some of the things I tried to do this year, though not perfect, were better than the year before. And maybe I learned enough by trying, that things will be even better next time.

We laughed with our children over the resolutions they wrote 20-some years ago and preserved in our time-capsule of a New Year’s Eve box which is retrieved every year just before midnight.

Those early goals included things like being nice to siblings and keeping rooms clean, things that are pretty challenging for four and six year olds but second nature for 20-somethings.

Maybe someday the goals we write now, that seem so challenging, will be mastered as well. Second nature.

Because it was so important for so long that one day it will be easy.

In the meantime, even if everything doesn’t work the way you want it to the first time and even if it doesn’t fit together as fast as you’d like, you can still make it happen.

Just turn and try again.

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