‘I’ll fix it later’
Usually I’m the the person saying that in our house.
It might be the flooring trim that has lifted between the lounge and corridor. ‘I’ll fix it later’.
Maybe it’s the fridge which seems to have some sort of small blockage that is causing it to slowly leak, ruining the wood floor (wood floor in kitchen – they did try to warn us…). ‘I’ll fix it later’
It might even be the Lego Joker’s Mansion creation – a two-month build for father and son that we really should have moved off the windowsill prior to taking delivery of two new kittens… ‘I’ll fix it later.’
I’ll fix it later = stop bothering me
Usually saying ‘I’ll fix it later’ is a bad thing. Let’s be honest, it’s almost a lie, or at least the later is a long time off. It’s certainly not today.
Today was different.
Earlier this morning, ‘I’ll fix it later’ was said without an accompanying groan from my wife. It was said and it was a joy to hear.
My son was showing me his latest Minecraft creation (Minecraft features a lot in this blog). It was an underground bunker accessed only via a portal, I fully expect one day he’ll call me in to show the entire replica world he built overnight.
The bunker included an elaborate hidden lift system, we went through four floors but then he hit a snag.
He sent the lift away, called it again and it didn’t come.
At this stage he went into a spell of smashing things – Minecraft smashing that is, to make space rather than out of aggression – adding new blocks, going into the mod’s elevator maintenance mode. I had no idea what he was doing, but he seemed on a mission so I just stood back, hoping he’d find the fix.
I was desperate for him to find the fix both so he could carry on showing me the world, but also because I knew what the alternative would be.
If he failed to fix the lift, his frustration would grow.
He would get angry, he would start calling himself, the game, or both stupid, there would be tears, maybe an attempt to delete the entire world (months’ worth of building) amidst the all-to-quick – descent into a meltdown borne out of overwhelming frustration and disappointment.
Briefly it seemed this would be the pattern. He was getting upset, he uttered one ‘stupid’, I wasn’t sure what it was aimed at. The meltdown was inevitable.
Putting things into perspective
But then something happened that has never happened before.
He said ‘I’ll fix it later’, moved away from the lift and found another part of his world to show me.
He had managed what he had never managed before in my presence, to put a small problem into perspective, to not allow it to grow and dominate him.
He saw it was something to be thought about and perhaps he had the confidence he would be able to fix it later, a problem had become a challenge, or even just something to be ignored.
I’m not stupid enough to imagine this will always be the pattern from now on. There will be many more small problems and stresses that lead to meltdowns, however maybe it is the first sign of an ability to control negative feelings and to rationalise.
Usually parking a problem and putting a fix off to later would be a negative trait. It speaks of that person who can’t be bothered to do it now, who says they’ll fix it later when they really mean ‘I hope you forget this needs fixing’.
In this case, it was a wonderful thing to hear. Learning to accept a small imperfection and not let it destroy you is progress indeed.