Playing with children is always a great way to re-open your eyes. Or let’s say it this way; playing with my grandchildren is always a great way to re-open my eyes.

We had the pleasure of watching our 19 month-old for the last 2 days while his parents got a little anniversary time to themselves. He is a really mellow kid, so it was not a problem at all. The biggest problem came when he saw my screensaver on my phone as I was taking a photo of his saba trying to entertain him by playing his melodica. The screensaver is of our 4 kiddies together, including his father. But no worries–I just took out the photo books that I had made of our last trip to Israel together and he was reassured that we would not forget his father as we looked at the books over and over and…

Other than that, or maybe even with that, he went with the flow. He let us know what he was happy with and what didn’t meet his approval. We had some suggestions about what he’d eat, but really, he let us know. Spitting out the squash was a great indicator of “not my taste” and “more, more” of the pasta with tomato sauce was easily understood. At this age, his language increases geometrically, not that it was always understandable, but he was very happy with the reply “Really”.

He was very content with his trucks, his refrigerator magnets, and his books. The photo books, especially.

We went both days to our local playground–easy walk and easy access, and fast home if it rained. He was thrilled. Both days, he found lots of different things to do. Today, he was fixated on the trucks that have been left behind for kids to use. He positioned himself by them and went to work.


And then he said, “stuck.” The door to the van was stuck with tons of wet sand (and I don’t want to think about what else). ISHI picked it up and dumped it out and then all was right with the world.

Just watching how he moved, or didn’t move, and needed help with the door was enough to at least get me thinking about how easily I get stuck. But, of course, I don’t realize when I am or I don’t know how to say “stuck” and ask for help.

I have just read an interesting book, The Waste Makers, by Vance Packard, written in 1960. He Cassandra-like sets out the problem very well of the impending overuse of consumer expansion as a systematic method to grow the economy, but I don’t think he could have fathomed it would get as bad as it has. But the reason I’m bringing it up now is because of one quote by this boxer, Eddie Shevlin, that he mentions towards the end of the book, in the section of suggested solutions.

“You can’t learn anything until you’re tired.” 

Here’s the source in the New Yorker Magazine from March 14, 1959.

A New Yorker visiting Boston saw the obituary in a Boston paper. Shevlin, he learned from the story, had passed his last years as an attendance officer in the Boston schools, & died suddenly, of a heart attack, age 65. Our man says he never would have heard about it if he had been home, because, whereas Shevlin had been a star in New England in the 20′, & a good gate attraction, he had not fought often in N.Y. where he could not draw money. The man hadn’t thought of Shevlin since about 1925. When he was at Dartmouth, Shevlin was the Boxer in Residence-they have a Poet now. He would teach boxing & do roadwork up there in N.H., & go down to Boston every 3 or 4 weeks to fight. Tells about his teaching technique: “You can’t learn anything until you’re tired.” Another thing that our friend says impresses him about Shevlin’s Law is that it can be applied to the activities of a group. “Take a country hopped up with what it thinks is surplus productive capacity & resources,” he says. “It jumps around, bouncing off ropes it doesn’t have to & slapping at elbows until the going is hard – a depression say, or a war that begins badly. Then it starts to want to learn how to take care of itself. It’s a wasteful process, but that’s the way things work.”

I guess it’s the Groundhog Day effect; having to repeat and repeat until you get worn down and tired enough.

My question is how can we effectively get out of stuck? How do we help others? How do we ask for help?


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