I imagine most of us have had a little bit of experience in child rearing – either with our own children or our grandchildren. However, even if you don’t have any children of your own, you can still identify with this Tip because somewhere in your past, someone raised you, so you know what that process is all about. (Someone once corrected me and said that you “raise” chickens, but you “rear” children. So, now that I have made it clear that I understand that we are in the child “rearing” business, rather than the child “raising” business, I will get back to my story!)
I have a grandson by the name of Sam who is a very strong-willed individual. I am sure that he is going to be incredibly successful one day after we get him “raised.” He has a happy-go-lucky attitude about life and likes to do things his way. I am extremely glad to have Sam as my grandson, but he can be challenging at times. He actually reminds me a lot of myself when I was growing up many years ago, when I knew everything!
I was helping Sam get ready for school one morning when he was little, and he was ready to go except for putting on his shoes. When I told him to put them on so that we could leave, he said, “I can’t get them on.” I asked, “What do you mean you can’t get them on?” He said, “I can’t get my shoes on,” and again I asked him why not. He said, “Look at them!” Then I noticed that he had apparently taken them off without untying them the last time he had worn them. “See, there is no way I can get my foot in them like that.” I thought perhaps he was “messing” with me, so I asked, “Are you serious?” He said, “Yes! Look!” Then he proceeded to demonstrate how he was unable to get his foot in his shoe while it was still tied.
Rather than react, I said, “Sam, if those shoes were loafers, that would be the correct way to put them on, but since they are lace-up shoes, can you think of any other options that you might consider in order to get your foot inside of the shoe?”
After a few seconds, he shrugged and said, “No, I don’t think there is any other way.” I asked, “Do you think you could possibly come up with any other method to get your foot in the shoe?” After a few minutes, he responded with, “Well, if I untie them, then I will be able to get them on.” I walked over and hugged him and said, “You are so smart! Why don’t you just untie your shoes, then put your feet in them, and tie them back?” He looked at me and said, “That is great idea!”
Now, I didn’t go into one of my usual lectures on the importance of personal discipline and self-control. I just accepted the whole experience as a fun time with my grandson. But, I do have to admit this: At one point in the conversation, I saw a glazed look in his eye that let me know that he was being honest and telling me the truth when he initially said that he could not think of any other methods to get his foot in the shoe. With a little coaxing and a little help, he was able to overcome that “huge” barrier!
Later in the day as I reflected on that incident, I wondered how many people create major problems for themselves over something that is small and simple – something that could be solved with just a little bit of thought and effort. Yet, they act as if there is no possible solution to their problems. They are stuck. They have a victim mentality. They are overwhelmed with a seemingly insurmountable problem that no one in the history of the world has ever faced but them. I hope you get the idea of what I am trying to say.
All of us face challenges; that is just the nature of life. The real secret is in learning how to look for alternative methods to get past our current obstacles in order to succeed in whatever we are doing.
Life has a way of placing roadblocks in front of us. The purpose of those roadblocks is not to defeat us; they are actually sent as gifts to help us become stronger and wiser. We can learn new ways of doing things that are better, faster and perhaps even cheaper, than the ways they have been done in the past.
The next time you are having trouble getting your shoes on, I hope you remember this Tip. I hope you will realize that if you allow something that small to become such a huge challenge to your day, it can only go downhill from there! However, if you look at your current challenge as just one more obstacle to get past, or if you are constantly on the lookout for ways of doing things in a better and smarter manner, it won’t be long until you are having a great day. Having that “can do” attitude about challenges makes life fun and exciting! Now go put on your shoes!
Tip: I can’t get my shoes on!
Have a great week! God bless you!
Dr. Robert A. Rohm