December 19, 2010

If at first you don't succeed...

Our little Audra is a problem solver.  At just six years old, it’s not that she has a wealth of experience to help her in the challenges she faces in life.  What brings her to the solutions she comes up with is total commitment to finding them.
When playing in a creek on our vacation in the Smoky Mountains, she wanted to get her hair wet but keep her clothes dry:
One day recently she asked her older brother Scott to make her a CD of her favorite songs she could play on her CD player in her room, wanting to be able to hear them any time she liked.  When he told her we were out of the right kind of discs for the job, I told her we’d pick some up the next time we were out.  Then I let her borrow a CD of mine that has one of her favorite songs on it.  Grateful but apparently not satisfied, I found her in her room a short while later recording the song on the old PDA I had passed down to her.  She knew she’d be able to listen to it on that gizmo any time she wanted to.  She had figured out long ago how to record things on it, and was putting it to good use:

Her resourcefulness isn’t limited to logic in the mountains or unconventional use of gadgets.  Recently she decided to start a club of people who like to pull harmless pranks on other people, something the kids have been having fun doing with each other.  The only snag she ran into was membership.  I overheard her trying to persuade Zach and Daniel, both eight years old, that this would be a fun club to join, with meetings only once a week.  Zach gave her a weak maybe, and Daniel flat out said no.  She came to me pretty upset, and I pointed out that sometimes things don’t work out, and blah, blah, blah, insert parent talk here.  I hugged her, and off she went, still feeling pretty dejected.
Just when I think it’s over, she’s in teenage Scott’s room asking him to join her club.  With a soft spot in his heart for his sweet little sister, he quickly agreed, but let her know he may not be able to make it to all the meetings.  She thanked him, and ran back to Zach and Daniel to let them know Scott was in the prank club.  When they heard that news, their answer changed, just as she knew it would.  Undeterred by a couple negative responses, she knew just what carrot would tempt them, and she was right.
Audra’s commitment to try, try, and try again until she succeeds, coupled with her ability to think about the root of a problem and find a unique solution helps her live a fuller, more satisfying existence in her little world.  It has fringe benefits too: she inspires me.  I’m someone who too easily arrives at the conclusion that something is impossible or simply needs to put off until later.  Watching Audra deal with challenges in her life helps me to consider alternate approaches to my own problems and work at them, rather than just giving up.  I remind myself that if my six-year-old can do it, perhaps I can too.  It’s never too late to learn and grow.
Even though I think it’s unlikely I can completely change my natural tendency toward complacency when faced with problems after thirty-nine years of it, Audra has taught me that it’s at least worth trying.

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