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Day 11 – The Story Of Diego And Juice Time

Inspirational Song of the Day: Sara Bareilles – Brave

“Create your own miracles; do what you think you cannot do.”
– Roy T. Bennett

When my now 22 year old daughter was in nursery school the children were summoned to the table every day by one of the teachers calling out, “Wash hands for Juice Time! Wash hands for Juice Time!” All of the kids ran happily to the washbasin and sat expectantly for Juice Time. All of them except for Diego. Every single day Diego had to be prodded and cajoled in to the classroom for Juice Time. He would sit in the sand box or hide behind a tree or pedal away on a tricycle until a teacher would finally corral him into the classroom.

One day he complained, “But I don’t like Juice Time!” And the teacher matter of factly responded, “Oh, that’s okay. You don’t have to like Juice Time; you just have to come.” And that was it.  From that day on Diego always came when he was called for Juice Time because he understood that he didn’t have to like it, he just had to do it.

You know where this is heading, don’t you? “Wash hands for Dryuary! Wash hands for Dryuary!” You don’t have to like Dryuary; you just have to do it.

Here’s the thing. When Diego understood that he wasn’t expected to like Juice Time, he eventually settled in and actually came to enjoy certain parts of it (the juice being one of the parts he liked). He didn’t enjoy coming in from outdoors, he didn’t enjoy sitting still, but he did manage to settle himself in enough that he learned a few things. He learned how to pour the juice for himself and others, how to pass the plate of crackers and take only one, how to sit still for those fifteen minutes. I don’t think Diego ever loved Juice Time, but he did gain some new skills and a different perspective.

While these skills may seem unimportant in the great scheme of life, in fact, they are vital building blocks to a healthy social life.  Learning how to use which muscles in the arms and hands to lift, hold, balance and pour a liquid without spilling is a really useful skill. Mastering the coordination to hold a plate with one hand and take a cracker with the other hand, all while reining in the desire to take more than one’s share is huge. Sitting still, breathing in and out, controlling the impulse to jump up and run outside before the end of Juice Time, that is the first seed of maturity.

As children we learn by doing.  We come pre-wired with the drive to learn to roll over, crawl, walk, run, babble and talk. No one tells us how, we just keep stumbling, tripping, and falling until we get it right. As we mature we begin to realize that there are a whole slew of things we aren’t necessarily dying to learn, but we gather pretty quickly that if we want to get anywhere in life, we better knuckle under and get to work.

And that’s where Dryuary comes in. We may not be thrilled to be here; we may arrive whining and stomping. But here we are at the table ready to learn. Saying No-Thank-You to that glorious glass of red that would be just perfect with dinner is not easy. Sitting still, breathing through the most maddening conversation ever in the history of the world is almost (Almost!) impossible. Watching all our friends yuck it up on that second martini while we sip bubbly water feels miserable.

But you know what? We can do it. We absolutely can do it. We can develop those abstaining muscles; we can figure out new and inventive ways to say no; we can live through the worst of times. Dryuary gives us the opportunity to learn all these new skills that might seem trivial at the time, but when added up and incorporated into our daily lives, can propel us into a life that we get to choose, because we have done the work.

Diego didn’t like Juice Time, but he settled in and learned all kinds of cool new things.
Be like Diego.

This post was contributed by Horselover