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* “It not working!”

September 22, 2015

One of our favorite stories from when our kids were small happened one day when two of our kids’ friends were over visiting. This kid-staring-upmeant 4 young ‘uns, 3 of them just over knee-high at that point in time, moving around our apartment in mysterious ways as we were living in a 2-story missionary apartment at the time and they lived just down the hall, so there was a lot of freedom of movement as they moved back and forth between our two apartments. I was at school, so my wife was trying to keep track of them all while taking care of our (very much no longer) wee one who wasn’t yet walking at that point. Let’s just say she was busy!

At one point they all gathered around my wife who was putting on some facial cream while our wee one was asleep. One of the friends asked my wife what she was doing? Her reply was, “I’m putting this on to make myself beautiful.” After a pause, while the friend gazed up at my wife intently, he very seriously said, “It not working!” No smile. Nothing. Let’s just say my wife was not impressed!

Oh, what children are able and willing to and do say! Enough to make one’s eyes water. At times, if you can’t laugh at it all, then maybe you cry.

Now my wife was then and is still beautiful, so I will politely beg to differ with our children’s friend at that time on this one. But, “It not working” is now a phrase I use often. For example when I:

  • try something new in my teaching that clearly and quickly shows itself to not have been the great idea I thought it was, then “It not working!” becomes what I need to tell myself as I try to figure out what to do next?
  • watch the current political debates, “It not working!” is perhaps too polite a response.
  • tell my wife I will do something and then don’t get to it in a reasonable amount of time, my assessment of “It not working!” needs to be quickly followed by some urgent actions on my part (including an apology).
  • remain hopeful that I’ll lose weight by not changing anything, well, “It not working!”

So as I disagree with that little one’s assessment of the situation at that time (he’s grown up to be a very fine young man), I go leftthank him for having provided me with a very helpful phrase that I’ve learned (often the hard way) I need to pull out and embrace when things clearly aren’t working.

And then, hopefully, figure out a better way to try to move forward. While it’s not always onward and upward, on my good days I remain hopeful. And on my bad days? See the “not always” phrase. But then, once I’ve been able to again see “It not working!” I have the opportunity to try something else. So if not at first, at least eventually onward and upward. And if not, well, there’s always sideways I guess.

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From → Change, Life

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