My 3-year-old son asked me to put a puzzle together with him a few days ago. This was not your typical puzzle. It was a map of the United States; and there were no guidelines or grids to follow. Once you dumped the pieces out, you were on your own. I wanted badly to refuse, but I didn’t. I’m glad that I didn’t because the experience gave me some insight and reminded me of a few lessons I should pass along.
1.Don’t let your past keep you.
I was never good with geography. Remembering the names of each state was a struggle for me as a kid. I eventually found ways to recall the states over time, but organizing them on the map still overwhelms me. In high School, I chose government over geography to fulfill that requirement because I refused to be defeated
in the classroom…something so simple brought back insecurities about my ADHD-related limitations, even still. I know that the only way to move forward, is to move forward. Staying true to my pledge to Say Yes to the things that make me uncomfortable,
I checked myself and shook it off. I smiled and told the kid “sure, but I’m not good with maps so we are going to really have to work together.”
2.Don’t deny the world your gifts, for fear of letting them see your limitations.
I could have turned him down. However, Instead of letting my insecurities about my weaknesses keep me sharing quality time with my baby, I put them aside and enjoyed the moment. He reminded me that giving has nothing to do with me or my feelings. He wanted that moment with mommy. If I would have made a big deal or redirected him to daddy, the special moment would have been missed; and the time I could have given him wasted.
3. Being honest about your limitations while you work your gifts, may encourage others to do the same!
I try hard to be open about my limitations with my son. But I also try to make sure that he never sees me give in to my frustrations to the point where I give up. So, As we both work at the puzzle, figuring out a system,
“ok, let’s put the East Coast states together…”
I fought the feelings of overwhelm and focused on his actions and reactions. As I listened to him verbally express his struggles I felt so proud of him. I was also proud of myself. My “do it anyway” attitude made it easier for me to encourage him when he became frustrated.
4. The world is full of worry so, have fun when you can!
Before I agreed to do play with him; the past criticisms, the worry that my bad habits and traits would rub off on him or that I couldn’t teach him enough about geography; all swirled in my head. I’m sure that I’m not the only mama that worries about their ADHD symptoms getting in the way of their parenting. It’s also a common trait for ADD’rs to over-analyze something as minor as piecing together a puzzle with a child. In relation to ALL the other things I had on my plate to worry about, that experience gave me an opportunity to appreciate the small things, and lighten up.
He brought that puzzle to me, not knowing what or how we were going to complete it. It simply seemed like a great idea to him. I told my son how bad I was with puzzles and it didn’t phase him one bit! To him, the journey was enough.
5. You don’t have to do it alone! In fact, enlisting the gifts of others is what God intended!
we eventually had to enlist my husband the geography genius to help out. Just as I was reaching the point where my frustrations could have turned the whole puzzle event upside down, He came in and gave me the mental relief I needed. And when we finished, man it felt good. Overcoming that small challenge with my toddler gave me the boost needed to get through the rest of that day!
What are some things kids have taught you about living?? Out of the mouths of babes as part of that saying goes…Leave a comment! I would love to hear from you 🙂