“Dad, you’ve become Mr. McGregor now.” My son says this to me as he watches me struggle to put up chicken wire around our vegetable beds. I smile as I look at him, ‘Yes, I guess I have.” It’s an odd sort of compliment as Mr. McGregor’s gardens were always lush, teaming with vegetables. Currently, ours our very far from that (and not just because it’s spring).
This isn’t the first garden I’ve helped create, but it is the first big one. And the first big one while being a parent and having a full time job that’s currently only busier due to COVID-19.
And there is something with ‘firsts’. They are often the hardest, slowest, most frustrating, and so on. But in many situations, this is also combined with excitement, expectation, hints of what is possible and so on. Even if the ‘first’ is complete flop and failure.
What is it about the hints and expectations that keep us going? Why does the frustration win out in some situations and other times it’s the hints and the possibility? When we stop and think about this, it’s often not hints of possibility in the processes we are doing for the first time, but the dream of the new future we are creating. And this doesn’t need to be super grand. It can be putting together Ikea furniture, creating a meal plan, or trying a new schedule for balancing home learning, working from home, and being a partner, a parent while maintain sanity as an introvert.
And maybe at the end of the day or around the kitchen table we could start asking each other and ourselves, what did we try for the first time today? And what kept us going or made us willing to try again?
Most of us are trying a lot new things, new routines and so on. And, if you are anything like me, the first time we try them doesn’t go so well. What if we try again? What if we try that pitch again? What if we try to influence that decision maker again?
Change is all about new and ‘firsts’. And usually frustration too. So tapping into something in us, and others, on the other side change might help us try again.
As for me and Mr. McGregor. Well, I’m on my third try with seeds, trying new ideas with keeping rabbits at bay, paying much more attention to the weather, and trying to do a little weeding everyday. I assume that most things I do will take 3, 4, maybe 5 tries before I land on a winner. And I realise I might need to completely change everything next year.