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Build It Better

I sat on the floor surrounded by piles and piles of building bricks of every size shape and color imaginable. On my left sat shiny, new containers ready to house their new tenants and on my right sat a very frustrated and pouty young man. I continued to explain my explanation and ideas to that sullen face, justifying one reason after another. We just had to do something about the thousands of Legos that had taken over his space. He did not really care much about my reasons, he just wanted me to move on from my cleaning mommy phase so he could play with the very toys I was putting away.

Hours. It took hours to finish my fancy little project of sorting all my son’s Legos.

Yes, veteran mommies, you heard that right. I spent an entire afternoon sorting these tiny little pieces under the delusion that I was solving all of the world’s toy problems. So, those of you out there that already know how this ends, just hold your laughter for a few more minutes. I promise you, in my mind, at that time, it sounded brilliant. Even my son could see the senseless experiment I was about to venture into. It took me a bit longer to catch on.

But not that long.

I walked out of his room that evening exhausted and patted myself on the back for a job well done. I handed out instructions for how to “keep it that way” to my sweet young son who cared not a bit about the organizational skillset he had just endured. He cared a whole lot more about building himself a kingdom in the fastest manner possible. He did not care whether he built it from a messy pile of bricks or not, he just wanted to build.

So, of course, I walked into his room a few days later and cried out in defeat at the neatly organized (and yes color coded) containers of bricks dumped out into a big pile in the middle of the floor. I instantly mourned the hard work as it waved to me on the way down the drain. I irrationally asked why in the world he didn’t maintain the amazing structure I had established, just for him.

But what was I really upset about? Was I actually sad about all the work that I had put into my brilliant little project or was I mourning the time I lost doing it? Bet you can read between those lines.

How many times do I miss out on the forest for the details? How many times do I sit sorting Legos, moving things around, storing them up instead of just building a kingdom? Yes, we all need a little structure (and pink highlighters), but we all also need time to play, learn, grow, and breathe. It is a battle of balance in which so many of us fight to gain ground.

Hopefully, you do not take the details train all the way to the extreme of sorting Legos like I did. But if you did, that is okay. Just sit down and build something. The details are great when they get you to your goal. Not so great when they distract you from it. What will you build today?


Shannon Leach is a slice-of-life encouragement writer and the owner of A Repurposed Heart and ARH Inspirations. Her authentic stories and books about leadership, life, and loving people focus on encouraging others and reminding them they are not alone. Her work can also be found in Guideposts and multiple Chicken Soup for the Soul books. She also holds a bachelor’s degree in Social Work and is the co-founder of the nonprofit The Fostered Gift.

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