Dear All,

I trust this newsletter finds you all well. Last week, I believe I mentioned in my newsletter contribution that I would be helping my son finish putting his Ikea study desk together over the weekend. Well, I’m pleased to say that my son was able to pretty much figure out how it went together by himself using the pictures. However, during the assembly proceedings, much to my son’s eagerness to want to get the desk together as quickly as physically possible, it was necessary for me to step in from time to time and make one or two suggestions, particularly on: hammering nylon pins into drawers in a straight manner to assemble them rigid; starting and running screws down in a straight manner to fix panels together; fitting drawer rails as symmetrically as possible, as well as fitting hinges to doors and their fittings to cabinets and adjusting them to make sure they open properly.

At first, this well ordered approach that I was trying to instill was all a little bit too much for a 9 years old boy to handle. Through frustration he must have left the room, where all the construction work was taking place, a good half a dozen times to complain to his mum, my wife, that I was talking too much about the importance of being precise and taking too much time to teach him about the meaning and importance of it. All he wanted to do was get the desk built, it didn’t really matter about whether cupboard doors were lined up properly or drawers were assembled squarely he just wanted to get his; books on the shelves; his pens and his little knick-knacks in the drawers; his table lamp set up and the desk itself pushed back to the wall.

However, I persevered: commenting on more than one occasion on how patience is a virtue and it’s better to take that little bit more time to make sure things are fitted together as they should be at each stage when building something. After asking me what the words “patience and virtue” meant and then taking my words back to mummy to check with her on the Japanese translation side of things, he came back in to where construction of his desk was just about complete and he told me that mummy had explained as I had done and he now understood the points. He agreed that taking care and having patience are important to make sure a good end result is achieved in anything, but he lamented that he still thought I asked him too many questions and repeated things too many times along the way. “Believe it or not Oliver, you’ll do the same thing with your children if you have any; you’ll reflect back to this time in your life, this very moment in fact, and you’ll say to yourself, “dad was right”. “How do you know I’ll say that?”, he said. “Well, because I was once your age and my dad said exactly the same thing to me in almost the same situation; I asked him the same question you’ve just asked me. I’m now reflecting back to that time and at this very moment it’s now appropriate for me to say “You were right, dad“.

I hope that next time my son and I build something together he remembers the few lessons he learned through building his study desk: he’s a little less on the side of wanting to get something constructed in double quick time and more concerned about how the end product should look. Until next time, like dependable weather, stay fine.