Our two sons were adopted from Asia. The first arrived at age 1 from Korea; the second at age 5 (older than our first one) from Thailand.
The poor child left warm Thailand, where hed never worn shoes (only flip flops), long pants or a coat, and arrived at his new home during one of the coldest winters on record. He had to learn a new language, a new family and new way of life. We had to assimilate a child we couldnt communicate with who had established patterns and habits we didnt understand. And, after the first blush of excitement about having a new brother, our younger son decided this wasnt quite what he wanted and told us we could send him back now.
If it werent for a piece of advice from the adoption counselor, we all might have gone mad. It was a struggle, but were glad we did it. Our older sons now a budding school psychologist working with kids who have problems of their own. I suspect he brings a special empathy to them.
The advice that helped? Trust the process. In this case, the counselor meant development.
For his own emotional development, she counseled, our older son still had to go through the various stages that any child would as a way to ensure good emotional well-being. That meant he would act completely dependent (like an infant), then hed go through the separation and indignation of the Terrible Twos, the joys of the Terrific Threes, the frustration of the Fearsome Fours, and so on.
She was absolutely right. About every six weeks, he shifted to a new phase. Wed joke that this gawky 5-year-old was in the Terrible Twos, with tantrums on the floor and crayons smeared on the wall. I can only imagine how wed have reacted if we had not been primed to understand and trust the process.
The same trust of the process happens in creative work, as I saw recently with a student who is doing a big research paper.
I thought I was done with that part. Why do I have to go back to it? Its boring. I want to move forward.
Stops, starts, rewinds, restarts, leaps and fall-backs. All part of the developmental process.
I assured her that I was going through the same blasted process right now on my own project, getting stuck, leaping forward, having to rewind, hating that part of it. But I also assured her that its part of the development process that makes the end product stronger for the foundation shes building now.
So when youre next stuck on a problem or trying to learn something new, give yourself a break and try to trust the process.
It helps me to remember that a scrappy 5-year-old (and his parents) had to trust the process so he could come out a winner. Maybe the rest of us need to do remember to trust our own processes as well.