Thursday, April 30, 2015

Thursday Thinking - Circles, Squares, Go - Go Boots and Elvis

Did your kids have that Fisher Price® toy that had blocks (square, rectangle and round) that fit through like-shaped holes? Mine did and it about drove us all crazy.  The kids didn’t have the agility to manipulate the blocks into the holes and so they were scattered everywhere. 

I was like that in second grade; I just didn’t have the agility to make a good fit. The friend I wanted to have thought we should wear white go-go boots and scream for Elvis Presley.  I wasn’t a go-go boot and Elvis girl.  I was really a build-a-fort-and-pretend-to-be-a-pioneer-taming-the-prairie-while-baking-a-mud-pie kind of girl, but wanting this girl to think I could fit, I hoped and hinted for boots for Christmas. I received a red pair of snow boots.  Red snow boots aren't even close to looking or sounding like white go-go boots. 

I was a square trying to fit in a circle, consequently second grade was a painful year. I struggled to tolerate myself let alone like me. It was just as Eleanor Roosevelt said, “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent” and I gave myself free rein to feel second-rate and miserable.

It takes patience to accept yourself for who you are -- circle, rectangle, square or otherwise. Sometimes we’re less than attractive emotionally, spiritually, physically or intellectually and it takes work to be nice to you. Sometimes we’re like a ten month old baby trying to feed herself. She’s awkward. It’s difficult for her to turn that little club fist into a useful eating utensil and she clumsily smears her food across her cheek on the way to her mouth. Sometimes the food makes it and sometimes it doesn’t but, messy and inept as she is, we wouldn’t yell at her for her failed attempts. Instead we encourage her and give her more food to try again. 

Likewise, we can expect to bungle many things but need to be patient while we learn. The mastery of anything takes time, practice and exposure and “The key to everything is patience. You get the chicken by hatching the egg, not by smashing it” ~Arnold H. Glasgow. White go-go boots was a passing craze and guess what followed it? The Gunny-Sac dress! A gunny-sac dress is exactly what it sounds like, a bit of ruffled prairie. If I’d have been patient with my square in second grade I could have hopped right into the gunny-sac era without having to wear those ugly red snow boots.

Since then, I’ve also learned it’s easier to accept ourselves when we serve and accept others. Like aspirin, service is a cure.  One of the ailments service cures is a feeling of low self worth. As Spencer W. Kimball said, “When we concern ourselves more with others, there is less time to be concerned with ourselves . . . by losing ourselves, we find ourselves . . . — indeed, it is easier to ‘find’ ourselves because there is so much more of us to find!” (“The Abundant Life,” Ensign, Jul 1978, 3) There were certainly others in our little second grade class that could have used a friend. There were lots of other shapes and sizes to play with rather than spending my time trying to cram a square block into a circle.

Lastly, one of the most helpful tools for accepting ourselves is to pray as the old English weaver: “O God, help me to hold a high opinion of myself.” If we’re to be of any use to ourselves, each other or God, it would be helpful to see ourselves through His eyes since He created us in the first place. Self-acceptance isn’t arrogant nor does it make excuses or overlook our faults, but rather self-acceptance does something about them instead of rolling over and playing victim to them. Self-respect means we recognize our potential and weaknesses and yet still play nice.

The problem with that Fisher Price® game was that it said it was for babies. It’s not for babies. Babies don’t have a problem with self-appreciation. They kiss themselves with enthusiasm every time they see their reflection in a mirror. Babies are bald, toothless, drool, wear diapers and yet still smile and like and accept themselves. That Fisher Price® game should be for second graders and adults who are still trying to cram circles into squares.

1 comment:

Kathy Page said...

I love this post! So insightful . . . and so applicable! We had that toy, too. I'm never going to look at it the same way!