Wednesday, January 6, 2010


I finally finished the piece that was due Monday. Wow, it was tough going. I had plenty to say, but finding the words to say it and integrating the different elements was staggeringly hard. Most days (but not yesterday) the process of writing is a challenging but satisfying struggle. I find that ideas crystallize for me when I write, and that makes the effort worthwhile.

I'm a verbal person: I sort-of, kind-of, more-or-less know what I'm feeling and thinking, but until I can put it into words I don't really know it. There's a distillation process that goes on as I write (and once in a while when I talk) that is extremely helpful. A month or so ago when I posted about toxic people it took me several hours of wrestling with thoughts and feelings to articulate what, in retrospect, looks obvious. But an awful lot of my life consists of things that are foggy at the time and obvious in hindsight.

I'm a big believer in making sure I've identified the real issue before I try to address it. Years of working in the life insurance industry taught me that a lot of time and money is wasted solving the wrong problems. If one of my kids is having trouble getting along with other children, that's too broad a problem for me to tackle. I need to narrow it down, and figure out under what circumstances the difficulty occurs. Is it when he/she is with older children? Younger children? Kids the same age? Does it happen in small groups as well as large groups? In more supervised situations, or in less supervised situations? Does anxiety play a role? The more I can narrow in on exactly what is going on, the easier it's going to be to come up with an effective approach to solving the problem. There's no sense trying to kill a fly with a steamroller when a 99-cent flyswatter will do.

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