Lessons From A Third Grade School Performance

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I watched you from my seat in the second row of the right side of the auditorium. Your eyes scanned the room, row by row panning left and right, left and right. Hands in your pockets, you stood tall and attentive, fully aware your third grade performance would begin at any moment. You had the notes, lyrics, moves memorized as you had been practicing for weeks in the comfort of your own home. Though, now you looked a bit nervous, standing on the stage, in the spotlight, anxiously searching the audience. You had told me to sit on the right side of the auditorium so I would have a good view of you. Today, on the drive over, we even reviewed left and right a few times to ensure I would be in the right seat.

 

As you searched the eager faces in the room, I knew we had gotten our right and left mixed up. The more your big brown eyes sought mine, the tighter my heart squeezed. I tried to catch your attention even waving my hand in the air but you were focused on the other half of the room. I stood and waved once more and it was then your eyes locked with mine, and as your little body visibly relaxed you nodded your curly head ever so slightly in my direction.

I sat back and watched you shine on that stage much like you do in our living room every night and throughout your performance I thought of all the things I want you to know as the world becomes your stage.

1. I will always be here for you, even when you can no longer see me. You will never be alone.

2. When life’s spotlight shines too bright, blinding you from what’s really important, I will help you see it.

3. And, when that same light dims eventually leaving you in moments of darkness, I will be your guiding light.

4. There will be times when our signals will get crossed and lead to misunderstanding. Know that we will communicate and straighten things out and even through disagreements I will never stop loving you.

5. Enjoy your successes, the big and the small. Those that seem insignificant are often the ones that will fill your heart with joy when you look back on them.

6. When the spotlight is on you, remember that all eyes are on you too. Use that opportunity for good.

7. Never take life so seriously that you exit the stage completely. There’s always room for creativity, imagination, and those things that make you laugh.

8. I will always be your biggest fan –  in your brightest moments as well as your darkest.

9. Don’t ever pretend to be someone you aren’t simply to please others. Who you are behind the scenes is better than anyone you could ever pretend to be.

10. Live your life in such a way that you will exit the stage with dignity when the final curtain comes down.

A Message to My Children on Their First Day of School

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Some of you may have seen this post over in The Huffington Post this week. I thought I would share it on the blog for all of us who are gearing up for a new school year this week. I hope it’s a smooth transition for kids, parents, and teachers!

Dear Olivia and Evan,

As I opened my eyes this morning, the realization that you will be starting a new school year at a new school today held me hostage for a moment. Today, you embark on yet another new chapter in your young lives, and as we rode the elevator down from the 17th floor I thought of so many things I wanted to say to you. Things I’ve already covered in the many conversations we’ve had leading up to this day, but as a mom can’t help but feel the urge to repeat in case you didn’t hear me the first time.

Floor 16 – I wanted to tell you that I know what it’s like to be the new kid. I understand the butterflies in your stomach and wondering if you’ll make friends. Believe in yourself. I do.

Floor 15 – I wanted to tell you I understand worrying about finding your way both physically and socially. You’ll spend a lifetime finding your way. Never give up.

Floor 14  – I wanted to tell you that sometimes the new kid is at a disadvantage simply because you are new, but the very fact that you are the new kid is sometimes an advantage in and of itself. Embrace the adventure.

Floor 13 – I wanted to tell you that as the new kid other kids will be drawn to you. Some won’t accept you. That’s okay as it will be their loss.

Floor 12 – I wanted to tell you to embrace this new experience with a positive outlook because while it is all strange and a bit scary today, very soon it will all be routine and familiar. It’s the circle of life.

Floor 11 – I wanted to tell you to try not to look so nervous. Sometimes the simple act of smiling can be the beginning of a beautiful friendship. It is said a picture is worth a thousand words. I believe a smile is worth at least that much.

Floor 10 – I wanted to tell you if at any moment today you find yourself in an uncomfortable situation, just breathe. You’ll be amazed how a couple of deep breaths can help you see things in a whole new light.

Floor 9 – I wanted to tell you to remember you only need one good friend. Quality trumps quantity.

Floor 8 – I wanted to tell you how my heart is torn between wanting to keep you home with me all day where I can love you and protect you and wanting you to go out there and have experiences I can’t provide for you. Don’t grow up too fast okay?

 

Cheerio!

 

 

Floor 7 – I wanted to tell you how I prayed last night that those you cross paths with today will see you as I do…smart, kind, caring, funny, creative. More importantly, I hope you always see yourself as I do.

Floor 6 – I wanted to tell you not everyone will have things in common with you. Embrace the differences. They may pleasantly surprise you.

Floor 5 – I wanted to tell you to be patient with yourself and others. Time has a way of charting our course from the trivial to the really big stuff.

Floor 4 – I wanted to tell you to not be afraid to try something new. That’s the beauty of a clean slate.

Floor 3 – I wanted to tell you to listen when the teacher speaks, when someone new talks about themselves, etc. Listening is one of those skills that will come in handy later in life.

Floor 2 – I wanted to tell you to follow instructions when necessary, but also to make sure you always express yourself. It’s okay to speak up.

Ground – As we exited the building for our short walk to school, I took each of your hands in mine and said, “Just be yourself, and remember how much I love you. I’ll be waiting to hear all about your experiences this afternoon.” I realized that’s really all you needed to hear. Love, Mom

What advice do you give your children on their first day of school?

I Slip It On Like A Well-Worn Pair Of Jeans

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They came to this country with only the clothes on their back and a light of hope in their hearts that the strongest gust of wind couldn’t extinguish. They walked away from all they knew for the promise of freedom. They left it all behind for visions of a better future for themselves, but more importantly for their children. Those brave souls made huge sacrifices for myself and my siblings, and I wouldn’t be who I am today if not for them…my parents. As with anything or anyone we leave behind, no longer accessible to us, we don’t fully bid farewell. We still carry with us a little something that will remind us of times we will never again experience.

Denim, Well-Worn Jeans, Favorite Jeans

My parents may have bid farewell to their homes, their families and friends, and the island they called home, but they held on to their language, clothing themselves in it like a well-worn pair of jeans, slipping into it and feeling the comfort of the fabric as it wrapped them in the many memories of their history and home. While my parents learned the English language of their new country, in our home, we were encouraged to speak our native language. Around the dinner table, we slipped into it easily without even realizing it. At family gatherings, children and grown ups alike easily conversed in the Spanish sounds of a faraway land.

I may not have understood my parents adamant rules on embracing our native language, but nowadays I see things clearly. Being fully bilingual has opened doors for me in many areas of my life from career opportunities to lifelong friendships. I can easily slip from English to Spanish and back again in the blink of an eye, often amazing those around me with the ease in which I do so and begging the question, “Do you think in the language you speak or do you think in one language and translate in your mind before speaking?” To answer the question, I think in Spanish when I speak in Spanish. I think in English when I speak in English. There’s no rhyme or reason to my language of choice. I prefer to read in English rather than Spanish. I more often dream in English than I do in Spanish. However, when I pray I find I slip easily into a Spanish conversation with God…possibly because I was taught to pray in Spanish. My conversations with my mom are conducted in Spanish more often than English.

Well-Worn Jeans, Favorite Jeans, ,Blue Denim

An article titled, How Speaking Two Languages Can Improve Your Brain, at About.com discusses this in further detail. According to a growing body of research, not only does speaking two languages not confuse people or slow their learning in other areas, it may actually improve your brain—carrying benefits that go far beyond communication. According to Ellen Bialystok, an internationally known psychologist and distinguished research professor at York University in Toronto, there is overwhelming evidence that being truly bilingual—speaking two languages and using them regularly—will improve your brain. For bilingual people, both languages are “always on,” always active in their brains, no matter which language they are speaking at the moment.

All scientific research aside, I am grateful my parents encouraged me to embrace our native language. I have personally witnessed those who believe everyone should speak English as it is the universal language, and frown upon those who don’t. I have personally experienced people being offended when they do not understand a conversation being conducted near them, in a language they do not understand. Thanks to my parents, when I am around someone speaking their native language, I keep in mind that those words may be the only familiar thing they still carry with them. It may be the only remnant of their homeland, helping them keep their history alive while they make a new home and create a new history in a foreign land. And, I remember what it feels like to slip into my favorite pair of well-worn jeans, the comfort they provide, each tear a memory that no amount of fading can completely erase.

If you are bilingual, do you think in one language and translate to another

or do you think in the language you speak?

 

Raising Champions

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Little boys all grow up to be men someday.

The kind of men they grow up to be is still to be determined.

Or is it?

Football - Little Rascals

 “I watch them from the sidelines as they stand side by side on the edge of the field. Every so often they turn and high-five each other, throw an arm over a teammate/friend’s shoulder. With the short attention span of little boys, a couple of them roughhouse with those standing closest to them until the coach reminds them to focus on the game. In these instances, I catch glimpses of their faces and can’t help but wonder if I’m catching a glimpse of their future as well.

My eyes methodically travel down the line, and come to rest on each jersey, seeing more than just their number. These boys already exhibit certain characteristics that will become prominent as they grow into men.” 

On The Bench

I’ve spent the last several months getting to know these same boys from an earlier post titled, Boys To Men: A Glimpse Into The Future. I’ve watched them grow in ways I never could have imagined during those early practices. I’ve witnessed the highs and lows of a competitive team sport through my lens week after week – tough games and great plays, bad calls and good calls, tackles and ultimate victory. Through my lens I’ve taken thousands of images of these boys, each capturing something unique about them, each depicting a piece of themselves that will eventually play a huge part in their future selves.

And, while earlier in the season I sat back and wondered what each of these boys might be like in the future, I no longer wonder. You see, the images that I will forever carry in my heart clearly show the type of men these boys are destined to be. As my eyes wandered away from the little warriors armored with helmets atop their heads as they prepared for battle each week, I caught glimpses of the people who are shaping them into the men they will someday become.

Coaches who volunteered their personal time day after day, week after week, to ensure these little guys would not only learn the sport, but learn lessons that will stay with them for a lifetime. Lessons of dedication, lessons of commitment, lessons of hard work, and lessons of compassion. Men who gave them a beautiful example of the importance of carving time out of your busy enough life to unselfishly give to the children of our future, instilling in them the importance of being present.

 

And, as I positioned my camera toward our sidelines what I saw week after week was the ultimate example of support from mothers and fathers alike I have ever witnessed. These boys were given a clear picture of what good parenting is all about as fathers helped them suit up, moms provided snacks, grandparents came to cheer them on, and siblings shouted their names from the sidelines all confirming that simply being present in our children’s lives is a priceless gift they will forever cherish.

Due to such an amazing team of people, these boys had an undefeated season and went on to win the championship. However, I can’t help but feel that during this season they won so much more.

The glimpse of their future selves is of men who will know how to be a part of a team and who will lift each other up, men who will have faith and men who will never give up. They will grow up to be dedicated fathers and supportive friends. They will dig deep when the going gets tough and they will see the best in those around them. Trophies and titles will come and go, but the greatest reward these boys received was the love that was showered on them all season long, proving they were winners long before they became champions.

Football Prayer

 

 

Lover

Goodbye Nightmare Lover!

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The nightmare took over. It came to me night after night, tiptoeing into my peaceful sleep and curling up beside me like a longtime lover. Quietly climbing into my bed, slowly inching over my body, not near enough to touch, but close enough to hover over my warm skin, its breath upon me. Beginning with a gentle caress, it traveled over me, inch by inch, plying my body to its will, allowing no resistance until the moment arrived when it entered me in my weakened state of slumber. At first came only a moan, barely audible, but enough for my brain to register it was happening. In denial, I ignored it and settled deeper into the mattress, rolling over, the universal sign for “not tonight, please…I’m tired” but with its one track mind it seemed to draw strength from my unwillingness to participate. The more I resisted the louder the moans came, until…

Lover

MOMMY!!!!!!!!!!!!! MOMMY!!!!!!!!! MOMMY!!!!!!!!

They were the screams of my daughter and they came from down the hall. The nightmares were hers, this routine one I was all too familiar with and one I was sure I could not physically keep up with much longer. While she had always been one of those children who didn’t require a lot of sleep thus never slept through the night, through the years her lack of sleep was taking a toll on my own. I like sleep. I need sleep.

Yet, every night after an exhausting bedtime routine of prayers, stories, and night lights, kisses and hugs, questions and comforting answers, more kisses, more hugs, more night lights, I dreaded allowing myself to fall into a deep sleep knowing it wouldn’t last. The nightmares would arrive, the fear would take over and the screams would begin.

I tried everything – night lights, prayers, staying with her until she fell asleep, each night putting a bit of distance from her until I sat in a chair right outside her door – Dr. Phil recommended it, claiming it helped to progressively reassure the child you were still there. Obviously, Dr. Phil had never met my kid!

As our daughter got older, my husband introduced her to one of his passions, Superheroes. He started telling her stories about his favorite Superheroes and eventually started watching some of the movies with her. He explained that in his dreams, whenever something bad was about to happen, he pretended he was a Superhero and changed the course of the dream, fighting off evil and sending villains back where they came from.

My Superheroes

One thing we never did was discuss her nightmares in the middle of the night, believing she needed comforting more than we needed a play by play in that moment. Thus, many a conversation over breakfast consisted of our dreams, nightmares, and ways we could control them. My husband insisted our brains could be trained to control our dreams as he described his often becoming quite animated. He depicted scenes in which he picked up a villain, dropped him on his head, and his cartoon teeth flew out. My daughter soaked it all up like a little sponge, but the sleepless nights continued.

One morning, I woke to the smell of toast and the realization that I had slept through the night. Not sure if I was in dream state or reality, I shuffled my way to the kitchen to find my daughter and husband laughing and hugging over breakfast. When she sensed my presence, she rushed over to me. “Mommy! Guess what?! I had the best dream last night!”

To me, sweeter words had never been spoken. Words tumbled out of her mouth as she described a dream in which terrible, scary things were starting to occur, fear tried to envelope her and she almost succumbed to it. “Instead, I became a superhero and flew above it all! They couldn’t reach me up in the sky and once I realized that, I flew around the city. You should see the view from up there!”

In dreams we set aside the rules of real life. We are in control and can be anything we want to be. Believing in superheroes cured my daughter’s nightmares. What tools have you used to control your dreams?

#teamsports, #sidelines, #boystomen

Boys To Men: A Glimpse Of The Future

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#teamsports, #sidelines, #boystomen

I watch them from the sidelines as they stand side by side on the edge of the field. Every so often they turn and high five each other, throw an arm over a teammate/friend’s shoulder. With the short attention span of little boys, a couple of them roughhouse with those standing closest to them until the coach reminds them to focus on the game. In these instances, I catch glimpses of their faces and can’t help but wonder if I’m catching a glimpse of their future as well.

My eyes methodically travel down the line, and come to rest on each jersey, seeing more than just their number. These boys already exhibit certain characteristics that will become prominent as they grow into men.

#boystomen, #teamsports, #lifelessons

Number 17 stands still, eyes directed at the field and his fellow teammates in action. He watches each play intently, tuning out the more restless boys on either side of him. Will he grow to be the kind of man who is focused and driven, eyes on the prize at all times? Will this cause him to neglect those he loves most, not understanding they need his love and attention more than his paycheck?

Number 23 is just as focused on the game, but expresses his enthusiasm not only for each pass completed. He also jumps in the air, his little cleats stomping the grass as he yells “Good job guys!” and “That’s the way we do it!” Will he be that guy who always encourages and supports those around him? Will he be the go to guy when someone needs a little push to overcome life’s obstacles or will he be the man who hides his true emotions behind a facade of smiles and cheers, always giving others, never sharing of himself?

Number 4 is more focused on the blades of grass at his feet as he pulls one, twirls it in his hands as though he’s seeing it for the first time, oblivious to the activity surrounding him. Will he grow up to be a man who takes pleasure in the small things in life? Will he appreciate all the parts that make a whole or will he get so caught up in the little things, that he misses the big picture?

Number 32 can’t stand still as he shifts his feet this way and that way. He alternates between watching the game and watching his teammates goofing around beside him. Will he spend his adult days always on the sidelines, watching but never truly participating? Or, will he be the type of man who tunes in to everyone around him, always fully present for each?

Whatever these little boys turn out to be as they grow into the men in our lives, our daughter’s lives, and our communities, I hope they take the lessons they are learning today and hold them close to their hearts.

The field may be a tough place at times, full of surprises, wrought with confusion, and a place of decisions both instant and well thought out, but isn’t that life? I hope these boys take their commitment to their friends and teammates today and turn it into commitment to their significant others and family in the future. I hope they apply the same drive and determination they display today to the things they are truly passionate about as they make their way through life. I pray they hold on to the pleasure they currently take in the small things and truly take the time out to embrace the little things that will tend to be harder to see as they get older. I wish for their future self to be the guy who encourages others from the sidelines when necessary, but also the guy who knows when to jump in and make things happen. More than anything, I hope they will be ever present in each moment life presents for themselves as well as those around them.

We, as a whole, spend so much time complaining about our youth today and the mistakes they make. We try to find a way to mold them into what we think they should be or what society needs them to be when they are all grown up. And yet, our children already hold admirable characteristics that they are applying on a daily basis, in sports, in the classroom, at home. They are exhibiting admirable qualities every time they help someone up, cheer someone on, show up for practice, commit to an entire season, and hang on to a belief that won’t let them quit. It is our job, as parents, teachers, coaches, to support and guide them from the sidelines, help them embrace the great qualities they already display today, because one day the little boys standing on the sidelines will take the field.

Front Porch, Leave A Light On

Are You Leaving The Porch Light On?

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Her stockinged feet scurried over the linoleum floor into the kitchen to double check the stovetop knobs were all turned to the off position. She carefully carried the empty glass milk containers out of the kitchen, through the living room, and set them down on the floor beside her feet. As was customary at this time of year, the temperature was dropping at an alarming pace and she braced herself for the cold blast that was sure to hit her when she opened the front door. She took a deep breath, turned the knob and was jolted by a frost that seemed to wrap it’s cold limbs around her and seek to pull her right through the threshold of her warm abode into the frigid unknown of night with it’s dark shadows and nightly sounds. She quickly set the milk bottles outside and closed the door as a cold shiver ran through her. Turning back to the living room, she turned off the television and slid around the room flipping off lights. As she made her way back to the kitchen, she could hear her mom’s movements and knew she would find her standing in front of the kitchen sink washing the few items that always seemed to make their way there long after the “kitchen closed” each evening. Curls bouncing as she picked up her pace, she snuck up behind her mom and hugged her tight. “Want me to finish that?” Leaning back into her daughter’s arms her mom responded, “No need…I’m almost done.”

Front Porch, Leave A Light On

“Thy Word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path.” (Psalm 119:105)

This exact scene had played out night after night since she was a little girl. This was their usual bedtime routine. Her siblings had already headed to bed after a little coaxing from their mother, but she always lingered for a bit to ensure she helped her mom with the nightly rituals. She effortlessly pulled herself up onto the kitchen counter, recalling how years back climbing that perch took a bit more effort when a chair was required as a bit of a stepping stone.  She watched her mom as she finished the dishes, telling her the lights were all turned off and milk glasses were set out. Suddenly, she jumped off the counter, startling her mom as a spoon clattered into the sink. “I forgot to turn the front porch light on! Be right back!”

Every night for as long a she could remember, her dad worked the night shift at the local car manufacturing plant and never arrived back home before 2am. Her mom always made sure to leave the front porch light on for him, and it had become part of the young girl’s routine as well. Full of curiosity she had asked her mom years ago why it was so important to leave the porch light on for her dad, why on occasion, she had left the warmth of her bed and traveled through the house to make sure the glow of the small lamp flooded the porch. Why was it so important?

Her mother replied, “We want your dad to know that while we might not be awake to welcome him home, our last loving thought before ending our day was of him.”

It’s been years since my father passed away, and longer still since I was that little girl who lit that porch light, night after night. And yet, I still find myself leaving a light on, even when my husband and children are at home with me. I find comfort in the ritual  and am forever warmed by it’s glow.

Who do you leave a light on for in your life? Is it someone who comes home to you? Is it habit? Is it for someone you know will never arrive? Maybe it’s not even for a person, instead for something in your life you still hope for?

Do you recall a ritual from your childhood that you still carry out today? If so, share it here. I would love to hear about it.

“Moms Vs. Award Season: Who Are You Wearing?”

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Through the years, the typical mom outfit has morphed from the days June Cleaver stood in her immaculate home in high heels and dress topped with a kitchen apron and strand of pearls. Moms in the nineties embraced a high waisted jean (I’m talking above the belly button) which made every woman wearing them appear to have a flatter, longer butt than they really had. Of course, these “mom jeans” as they came to be known were always paired with a top that was tucked in to the pants. I’ll leave you with that visual as we reflect on what moms of recent years are wearing…yoga pants. Yoga pants designed for the practice of yoga or any activity requiring a lot of movement such as bending and stretching has become a mom favorite.

Katia of I Am The Milk invited fellow bloggers to “Imagine an army of moms in yoga pants, sweats and buns invading the red carpet and responding to a slightly confused “Who are you wearing?” Wanna be that mom? We bring you a different kind of red carpet vision. A #365 Feminist Selfie red carpet. Stay, admire the parade of outfits you’re about to see and share your own through our linkup. The linkup is live until Sunday evening. You can also tweet about us with the hashtag #WhoAreYouWearingMom and invite your friends to join.”

Who are you wearing?, Award Season, Red Carpet

Her invitation immediately took me back approximately five years when our family relocated to the island of Puerto Rico and particularly to the first week of school for my two kiddos. We had been camping out in our home for a couple of weeks as we faced delay after delay on the arrival of our home goods. The first few nights of air mattresses, no television, and either sandwiches or eating out were a welcome adventure, but like any camping trip you eventually long for the commodities of your normal life…especially the feeling of being surrounded by your own things.

I arrived at school, two kids in tow, wearing running shoes, cutoff shorts, and my Beatles t-shirt as I embraced the adventure that was my life. Truth be told, home goods or no goods, this had become my “mom outfit.” Being a stay at home mom on a tropical climate simply meant I exchanged my flip flops for running shoes on days I expected to be productive. Apparently, I was alone on this fashion choice.

As I approached the school, I felt like I had been transported onto the Latin red carpet of all red carpets! Woman after woman arrived with kids in tow, dressed in high heels, stunning outfit, perfectly applied makeup, hair done impeccably, and gracefully strutted in all their glory from car to front door of the school.

As the days progressed, much to my dismay I learned contrary to the ideas I had conjured up about these women and their demanding, high powered day jobs, they were stay at home moms just like me…well not exactly like me. If their afternoon wardrobe was any indication, they either spent their entire day shopping for the next outfit or in their massive walk in closets planning that afternoon’s wardrobe change.

Alas, while I admired their enthusiasm for fashion and whatever they were putting in their morning coffee to get that all accomplished before 8am, I continued to look much like I do in this photo.

#365 Feminist Selfie, Red Carpet, Award Season

In writing this post, I realized two things:

1. My daily wardrobe is apparently not a kodak moment, EVER, as it was extremely difficult to find a photo of me in it.

2. I guess it’s not only my mom outfit, but my travel outfit too since this pic was taken on a trip to Washington, DC.

Take that Joan Rivers!

Little Miss Wordy – Featured On BlogHer Today

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Little Miss Wordy is being featured in BlogHer’s Family section today.

BlogHer Badge

Please take a moment to head over and share the post, leave a comment, or just show me some love!

Here’s the link: Granting My Kids’ Wishes One Dandelion At A Time

granting_wishes

Thank you all and I hope you enjoy your Tuesday!

You Shook Me All Night Long…At A 6.4 Magnitude!

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I was startled awake to my entire world shaking. Living at the top of a high-rise, I felt like a bird being rattled out of its nest by a being greater than itself. The wrought iron panel that normally leans against my wall, was rattling and falling forward. The hanging lamps across the room did an interpretive dance all their own. My first thought, that of my baby birds as I stumbled down the hall to their bedrooms. One was awake and terribly afraid. The other fast asleep in his innocence. The building swayed to and fro as I made my way back, shaken to my very core and still in a state of confusion. The steady ground I took for granted had been pulled right out from under me. We had just experienced an earthquake with a magnitude of 6.4.

This Puerto Rico quake comes almost exactly 4 years after a powerful 7.0-magnitude quake devastated another Caribbean island – Haiti.The 2010 disaster took more than 100,000 lives.

Etch A Sketch Drawing, High Rise Etch A Sketch, Cityscape Etch A Sketch

As I lay my head back on my pillow, still shaken, but so very grateful to be okay, I couldn’t help but think of the wake up call these moments are in life. Our lives are much like the Etch A Sketch of our younger years, at the mercy of some greater force, natural or otherwise.

“The toy can be considered a simplified version of a plotter. The inside surface of the glass screen is coated with aluminium powder which is then scraped off by a movable stylus, leaving a dark line on the light gray screen. The stylus is controlled by the two large knobs, one of which moves it vertically and the other horizontally; turning both knobs simultaneously creates diagonal lines. To erase the picture, the artist turns the toy upside down and shakes it. Doing this causes polystyrene beads to smooth out and re-coat the inside surface of the screen with aluminum powder. The “black” line merely exposes the darkness inside the toy. Filling in large “black” areas will allow enough light through to expose parts of the interior.”Wikipedia

As kids we spent so much time, focused on getting the picture to look a certain way. We would concentrate so hard on making the lines perfectly straight and the end result one we would be happy to present to the world, but only after we had erased any flaws and forgotten all mistakes. As adults we carry on much the same way, with the belief that the final Etch A Sketch masterpiece of our life should scream perfection before we let those around us see it. We grip those white little knobs for dear life, refusing to give up control, believing we alone decide which direction the next line will be drawn. In our ego centric state, we have no doubt we control our destiny.

And yet, in one swift move, with a shake here and a rattle there, it can all disappear. Worse yet…the Etch a Sketch we worked so hard to create, can suddenly look a whole lot different than what we ever imagined. 

Maybe it’s time to start looking outside the confines of the Etch A Sketch and start living outside the box we have limited ourselves to…there’s a whole world out there full of possibilities to explore. Show the world your flaws. Its response may shake you up in ways you never imagined!