In order to make good decisions and avoid rust in life sometimes you have to look beyond the superficial data and get to the root of a problem, identify the deeper need, or correctly ascertain what someone is really saying. Otherwise, your decision-making will be sort of like playing a game of telephone with a two year old.
Sarah, our resident toddler, chatters a lot but is difficult to understand unless you happen to be a linguistic mastermind or have spent enough time in the immersion program here at our house. I run the immersion program but even I sometimes struggle. Today, for example, I asked Sarah what she wanted for her snack.
“Halmies n’ perns,” she said.
“Do you mean hummus? And prunes?” I asked, stumped.
“Noooooo! H.A.L.M.I.E.S. N’ P.E.R.N.S.” She enunciated clearly, the way people do when they’re speaking to someone who is hard of hearing or of questionable intelligence.
After a series of guess and check exercises in the refrigerator and pantry I realized that Sarah was asking for almonds and raisins mixed together in a cup. Perns is her word for prunes, and I guess there is a connection between dried plums and dried grapes. It took some time to figure out what she meant but it was worth it to try because of how adorable it was when she beamed her biggest smile, nodded vigorously, and shouted “Uh – HUH!” when I got it right.
This has me thinking about the other things in my life that I’m trying to make sense of and sort out. Right now a lot of things are at the halmies-and-perns stage, but I’m hopeful that with continued effort I will get to that lovely uh-HUH moment.
Here are some of the ways I’m working to break out of the halmies-and-perns confusion:
1) Taking stock of my strengths and weaknesses: Are these areas where I need to improve or be more disciplined or do I need to change my focus?
2) Thinking about what my motivations are and what I really want out of the situation: Am I being honest with myself about how I spend my time and why? Am I looking for the right things in the right places?
3) Getting wise counsel: Sometimes it’s good to contemplate your navel. Other times I need a little outside perspective.
So I’m interested to find out: how do you deal with halmies-and-perns situations in your life?