Respect His Process

by crobertson

It was a Sunday afternoon.

Braeden and I sat in his room, puzzle pieces between our feet.  Light from the sun beaming through the windows.

“We need to find the corners first.”  “They have a point with two edges, see.”

A quick glance, a nod.  Before us was the frame of a puzzle.

An eerie dark cloud came overhead.  A cloud I created.  A cloud filled with my thinking, striking down like lightning.  “Braeden, does that match?”  “Does that look like Ernie’s shirt?”  “Should you turn that piece?”  “Does it fit?”  A clap of thunder in my mind (ugh!, why isn’t he listening, how can he not see that, how can I teach him to do jigsaw puzzles).

Then it happened.  My heart stopped.  He put the piece down and went for another one.  He gave up.

My mind was racing (why, what did I do to send that message)  I sat there watching him with the new piece in his hand.  Trying to fit it in all the wrong places, but he was trying.  (trying).

I took a deep breath.  The thoughts in my mind gently blew away the cloud (I am asking the wrong questions, I am asking the questions I want him to think, I am expecting him to solve this puzzle my way, I am not respecting his process…that is a problem!).

“Look closely.”  “Braeden, look closely at that piece.”

He looks, intently.  He does not say a single word, and points to a specific part in the piece.  He points to the puzzle.  He looks up at my eyes, and they say try?  I nod.  Success.

For us both.