Sunday, August 19, 2012

Solving Puzzles

To my son Tommy,

The other day we got you a 48 piece puzzle.  You have always shown an affinity for puzzles but the ones we have for you have become too easy.  This puzzle by a company named Melissa and Doug seemed just about perfect for your current level.  After doing the puzzle about a half dozen times with your father, you were ready and determined to do it on your own.  Much to my surprise you got about 80% of the puzzle finished solo.  You would have done it all on your own but you had put a couple pieces in the wrong spot and that threw you off.  You were reluctant to change these pieces even when I tried to explain where they went.  Darn Irish stubbornness.

It bodes well for your life that you like solving puzzles.  Life is a trillion piece puzzle that needs to be solved.  Worse yet this trillion piece puzzle called life has no edges nor corners.  You get to decide where the boundaries start and end.  And no two people have the same puzzle to solve.  So though some of the pieces of my puzzle might find a home in your puzzle in the exact same place, some you will have to move to another spot or throw out some of the pieces.  Hopefully, unlike your recent puzzle solving attempts, you won't try to force puzzle pieces into the wrong spot and then stick by that decision, even after it becomes obvious it isn't working.

Many of the puzzle pieces you will receive will be so close in color and shape that you might not understand the difference.  For example in your life we have taught you to applaud at the end of a song when someone sings well, yet you have to learn that in church we don't have to clap after every song.  Quite puzzling, don't you think?  The same situation with just a slight change.  Of course today when you did that same thing, I just smiled and rubbed your head.

So as I write these letters to you, I hope to assist you in solving your puzzle.  If I repeat myself, look for the slight difference in the piece of the puzzle I am offering.  If the piece of the puzzle I give you doesn't fit, look for the right place or put back in the pile for later.  You may have to connect a few more pieces before you find a spot for it.   Find your straight edges and boundaries, and keep working on your puzzle.  You will never finish but hopefully you will get enough pieces put together to see the big picture.

Sincerely with love from your dad,

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