“Wheeeel, fix…” my 2-year old daughter said.
“I can’t–” I’m holding the plastic tire in my hand, as she hands me the yellow toy truck (a bulldozer).
On a bright sunny day, I was in the local playground with my 2-yr old daughter. We found a broken toy bull dozer.
It lay on the dirt, missing a wheel.
She Wouldn’t Give Up.
I watched as she walked up to the toy.
She turned the toy over; noticed the broken part laying nearby. She picked it up, and in her mind it was like any other lego.
She tried to attach it again.
Of course, the plastic had snapped off along the axel, so there was no way the wheel would connect again. It had to be glued.
Unfortunately, I don’t carry a stick of cyanoacrylate with me wherever I go.
When she brought me the toy, she must have thought daddy, fixes things all the time. He can fix this, too.
I take the toy from her, and the wheel.
I explain in soft words that the two cannot be put together again–as I touch the two parts together.
Deep down, I’m hoping they stick so as not to disappoint the little one looking at me with eyes wide with hope.
Hope that her dad can fix this toy….
Therein lies the dream – that every broken thing can be fixed.
And, here I know it’s impossible.
I am powerless.
Yet, as I told her this — trying to explain why this toy is not fixable — I realized that trying to explain the impossibility of this feat to a two-year old, is itself impossible.
She’s innocent to the idea of failure.
I watch her reaction–
–to my surprise, she doesn’t just put the toy down or get upset.
She pouts. This little kid actually gets upset, but not with anger, but with some type of innocent confusion.
There are other kids in the playground and she takes the toy from me–and the wheel–each part in two hands.
She toddles (verb for how 2-yr olds walk) to these other, older kids.
In her sporadic English, consisting of some vague nouns, with the word “fix” thrown in, she asks for help.
The other kids ignore her, or look at her with pity.
I observe, quietly. I feel like I’m learning something.
It’s incredible. My daughter is going about asking others to fix this toy she found laying, broken in the dirt.
It’s not even a nice looking toy.
Yet, she persists in making it right.
Makes sense; if it’s broken, fix it, just like everything else she’s seen around the house that we’ve had to repair or make new again (sometimes buying a replacement with a new item. But she doesn’t know that’s how we also make things new again — throw out the old, replace with new).
A lego car fell apart. Fixed.
Netflix won’t show her cartoon. Fixed.
She doesn’t give up.
Twenty minutes later, and she’s still persisting on asking other kids, playing with the broken wheel and the toy, or asking me to continue working on it, somehow.
Do you know how long twenty minutes is for a kid? Well, for a dad, hungry and right before lunch, it’s an eternity!
But, she continues….trying to fix.
Before we decide to leave the park, I take a photo of the broken toy on the ground (seen in this post). There it is, sitting on the ground. I wanted this photo to remember what I learned.
Some broken things in this World cannot be fixed, but we shouldn’t stop trying.
To stop trying to fix the broken stuff is a surrender to a reality that we live in a world without hope.
Do we actually live in a world without hope?
My daughter doesn’t think so.