I have a chair- one which could possibly be called an armchair- in the corner of my living room. This was purchased at a used-furniture outlet about two years ago. I was happy to have a slightly less extravagant chair (ie., not a real padded armchair), because the difference in price was tremendous. I really do not have the extra cash for an armchair right now (if at all).
About two months ago I noticed that some of the wooden pieces were separating, and asked my 18 year old (strong, muscular) son to fix it. He and a friend tackled the job, but after about half an hour, called it “quits”, and declared the chair a hopeless case. I was not so willing to give up, and left the chair in place. A few days later I approached the chair with an attitude of “Why didn’t it go for them?” I quickly figured out that a certain precursory straightening of a second board was needed, and after that I managed to glue and hammer the chair into working state.
Early this week Ricki must have made a flying superman leap onto the armchair, as she managed to break the wooden board that supports the seat cushion. However, on closer examination, I realized that one of the supporting bars needed strengthening as well, or it would soon come out of place. So yesterday I bought the hardware, and in the evening asked my son again to do the “man’s work”. (I mean, he DOES have stronger muscles than me.) About a half-hour later he reported failure.
So this morning I went to check out exactly what had been done. Several screws were half-in , but other then that, the job was pretty good. The screws just needed further insertion, and one more strengthening metal corner added. However, on trying to insert the screws further, I realized that strength alone would not work. So I again asked myself “Why isn’t this going?” I suspected that the screw driver was a smidgen too small, and I went to exchange it. Sure enough, with the correct size screw driver, the screws went in full length. I added on the extra corner, as well, and later today I will hopefully buy the needed board.
So why did I succeed when my son didn’t? A big reason is I see the “fixing the chair” as a big savings, and in essence the difference between having a chair to relax in on Shabbos morning (with a coffee and a book), or having an empty corner instead. My son saw “fixing the chair” as something keeping him from his computer game….
But in addition, I think that the stopping to ask myself “WHY isn’t this working?” on both occasions saved the day. Lots of time in life we try to accomplish certain things, and it just doesn’t go the way we want it to. It might be our diet, a problem with a child, a critical relative, or whatever. It could be that often the “cure” would be to stop back and ask ourselves “WHY isn’t this working….?” Once we see THAT, we can design a new plan of action that hopefully will accomplish what we are aiming for.
[note: I published a different post earlier this morning. If you are arriving here from a blog list to this post specifically,you might want to click on the blog name to get the whole blog, including the earlier post from today.]