Broken Crayons


"But MOM, these are broken."

A friend shared a story a few weeks ago, and it made me laugh out loud because I had the same experience with my son.  It was all about broken crayons.

Here is what happened....

When my son was little bitty, I got him those big fat chubby crayons for toddlers. But as he got older, I got him the traditional, slim crayons. I have always had a closet FULL of arts and crafts materials. (I love to paint and getting all crafty is one of my favorite ways to de-stress.)

My son opened up his new box of crayons and happily pulled the first one out. He was humming along and pulled out a new crayon. IT WAS BROKEN. I was doing my own thing, just waiting to see what he was going to do. He ignored it - at first. 

THEN, he took a few more crayons out of the box and snapped them in half. He seemed surprised that they broke! He actually had a look on his face of utmost incredulity which quickly turned into a frown. I nearly laughed! But I held back and waited to see what would happen next. 

He looked at me and said, "Mom, I need a new box of crayons." 

"Son, that IS a new box."

"But Mom, these are broken!"

I took time to explain to him that HE had broken the crayons. HE had chosen to take them out of the box and snap them in half. They were broken because HE had chosen to break them. 

I could see the wheels turning in his mind. It's a hard lesson that we all learn at some point. Life is given to us and sometimes there are bits and pieces that come out of the box broken. AND THEN...we sometimes break the bits and pieces ourselves.  True mastery and responsibility comes as adults when we realize just where and what we have broken. 

But that's a hard lesson for a kiddo, especially with a brand new box of crayons!

MOM to the rescue!

Since the tears were still threatening to fall, I showed my son how even broken crayons can still be used. I showed him how to take the paper off and turn it sideways to make a wide swath of beautiful color. 

He spent the rest of the afternoon making huge rainbows with his broken crayons. Some of them he CHOSE to break just for this purpose, and some of them he CHOSE to leave intact. But it was totally his choice. 

WE are the broken crayons.

The lesson he learned is far deeper than just a child's choice to make rainbows. We are the broken crayons. I don't know why some people are born with problems, disabilities and challenges. I just know that they are. Some of us are "broken" by our own bad choices. Some of us are "broken" by fate, by the choices that life throws at us. 

But here is what I now - we are all broken. 

But just like the crayons, each of us is still beautiful.

My life has been full of situations that have broken me down. Some I created, most I did not. I am still painting my rainbows. What about YOU? 

Whatever you are facing, know that there is a truth behind each struggle. I will not dare to tell you it will be easy, or that everything will turn out "okay." Sometimes, life is a sucker punch to the head and what's broken is never fixable.  

But you CAN rise up and fix what is fixable. You CAN rise up and move beyond the broken bits. You CAN learn and live and make the choices to be better, kinder, more loving to yourself and those around you. Now, THAT is how an adult makes rainbows. 

Sending you my love,

Shanna