She dreaded the car ride. As the youngest, she had to sit in the middle. Most of the time she’d start to feel sick. The surrounding countryside whizzing past made her dizzy.
Maybe Dad would drive through the tall column of trees. She loved that part of the trip – so majestic with the towering straight sentinals standing guard over the countryside.
What was waiting for her at the other end made the trip worthwhile. Grandma’s house. She could smell it now. Cinnamon. Yeast. Vanilla. Cloves. Lemon. She closed her eyes and inhaled deeply.
Grandma’s house. She wished it were closer.
As she daydreamed to keep the ickies away, she thought about her special spot at Grandma’s.
In the corner, the puzzle table waited quietly. “I wonder what puzzle Grandma has there now,” she thought.
Grandma loved puzzles. She taught me to love puzzles. There’s something unique and intriguing about each one. But, Grandma had rules about working puzzles that we absolutely obeyed. No one wanted to risk banishment from the puzzle table by disobeying the rules.
Grandma’s rules were:
- Take all the pieces out of the box and turn them right side up on the table
- Look at the picture on the box, then set it aside
- Find two pieces that go together – I always started with the edge – and start working
- Keep your hands in your lap unless you are reaching for a piece you need
- If you knock a piece on the floor, pick it up right away
As I think about those rules, I realize the universal Life Lessons learned at Grandma’s puzzle table.
- Prepare for the task. What am I doing to gather the tools I need? Do I have all the necessary pieces? Or am I so excited about the journey that I just run ahead without adequately preparing. You can’t finish a puzzle when pieces are missing.
- Determine the destination. What does the goal look like? Am I clear? Am I laser-focused? Or am I still fuzzy on my destination? If I have no clue where I’m going, I won’t know when I arrive. Solidify the completed picture in your mind.
- There’s always a place to start. Sometimes the hardest part about getting to your destination is starting. What is your next step? Instead of trying to put the puzzle together as a whole, look for the next piece. You complete the puzzle one piece at a time.
- Work well with others. Be considerate of your fellow puzzlers. Do I seek to help others along the way? Or am I bullying my way forward blocking the path for another? If I see the next piece another needs, do I hand it to them or hide it so I can get ahead? It’s much more enjoyable when we work the puzzle together.
- Practice awareness and responsibility. When I make a mistake, and I will, am I quick to admit it? Do I correct my wrongdoings? Am I oblivious to my surroundings or am I carefully paying attention? That puzzle piece I picked up may be the key piece.
Thank you, Grandma, for these extraordinary Life Lessons learned at your puzzle table.
Life is a series of puzzles. In order to solve the puzzle – whether it’s career, relationships, parenting, or personal development – the goal or destination has to be clear.
What puzzle are you working on today?