Lessons are Messy & Fruitful

dirty dishes

As I adjust to a summer routine with kiddos, I’m watching as they wrestle with things that are not fun, but necessary: namely, chores. My youngest is really feeling the pain of being tasked with jobs that take a little more effort (now that he’s “almost a first grader”), like emptying the dishwasher.  

This morning, when I reminded him of this task before play time, he argued, “I don’t know how to do it! It’s too hard!” 

As I held space for him to push back, we eventually landed on “I try, we try, you try.” As I loaded a dish with him watching, I asked him how he learns anything new, especially things he likes to do. He said, “I just do it, mom.” We then talked about how there are things in life, that aren’t as fun, but necessary, that we can also learn by just doing.  

I walked away to let him finish. Shortly thereafter I heard him yell, “I’m done!” as he ran out the door.  

It was not until a little bit later that I walked back through
the kitchen and saw this:

dirty dishes

Everything in my body screamed “Fix this! Make it right! Gahhhh!” But I paused, because as lessons do, I was struck by one: 

I will be called to try new things, some fun, some simply necessary. I won’t get it right or anywhere close to perfect, but my effort will be. Next time I will improve, and when I keep trying, one day it will become second nature, without a thought. For now, I don’t need to fix it, just celebrate that I showed up and tried. 

It can be overwhelming not knowing the way, but it is what you do along the way that matters. 

Inherent to our being born is that we are here to observe, learn, and grow. With this comes a guarantee that there will be mistakes and missteps along the way. And while it is only natural that we may sometimes become overwhelmed, especially when the lessons keep coming, remember that learning to understand yourself and your world is an ongoing active process where the journey is actually more important than the destination.  

What if every lesson is intended to help you get closer to who you are? Just show up and try. Maybe the “how” and the “why” are yours to discover, and part of the beauty of being alive is that these rules are always evolving with us. 

Invitation: If you feel inclined, try writing down in chronological order, the significant events in your life. Take note of what you learned from each one. When you’re done, you may be surprised to discover how much you always growing and that every lesson informs the next.  

This may feel a long way from a discombobulated dishwasher until I consider everything is new, until I try it, and then I grow.  

Stay Curious,