When you frequently hold the flashlight for your dad, you toughen up pretty quickly.
The graphic I saw on social media made me chuckle. It’s the truth. Holding the flashlight for dad was never easy. I doubt he ever intended to be gruff through the process, but if he needed help by flashlight, it meant he was working at an inconvenient time or in an inconvenient space. The flashlight holder—my mom, me, or one of my sisters—were awkwardly positioned behind him. He blocked our view, so how were we expected to know exactly where to point the light? Plus, holding something still for a while isn’t easy, especially when precariously perched.
I understand why he needed help. As challenging as the flashlight holder role was, he was fixing a difficult problem in a tight, uncomfortable space, which always seems to happen at the height of “I don’t have time to solve a problem right now.”
Eventually, someone invented the headlamp so the person doing the fixing could shine the light themselves. The headlamp was probably invented by a daughter who duct-taped a flashlight to her dad’s head after he got grumpy one too many times.
In all fairness to my dad, I have to say I’d sure like to have him grump at me about not holding the flashlight correctly. We don’t get that chance anymore. But the time we spent together—grumpy or not—taught me a lot.
- Share your problems and invite others to be part of the solution.
- Shine the light in the right direction, or you’re wasting time.
- Don’t stay grumpy too long. Always find a way to laugh together.
- Problems are inconvenient much of the time, but the resulting problem-solving is irreplaceable.
Set aside the headlamp. Life with others can be frustrating but a lot more rewarding.