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7 Life Lessons Learned From Building My Kids Swing Set

Posted Jul 22 2009 10:13pm

Here are "7 Life Lessons" I have learned just from putting together my kids swing set.  Everyone else told me I was crazy, but sometimes there is more to life than having it easy or done for you…

Lesson #1 – It’s About The Experience

I learned not too long ago that I was nothing more than a passenger in my own life.  I was watching other people have fun…just waiting for the day when I would have fun.  Kinda laughable if you ask me?  It happened on a weekend in March – when I realized that I need to take control of my own life and live in the driver’s seat.

Life is about the experience – about the journey – NOT the destination.

Lesson #2 – Some Things Only Make Sense After You Mess Up

I once heard a story about two sisters.  One was a straight-A student, and the other struggled through school.  Later in life, the straight-A student got easily frustrated when she faced a challenge, whereas the sister who struggled knew how to fight for what she wanted.

I made a mistake building my kids swing seet, and as I looked at that mistake, I realized there was no way around making it – unless I had put one together before.

Lesson #3 – You’ve Got To Have Fun

The day the swing set arrived, I was excited.  Some people might say it was like Christmas morning.  But not everyone was excited.  My neighbors kept telling me I was nuts.  I should hire someone to put it together – they told me.

Why on Earth they were frustrated by my own decision, I’ll never understand.  But I knew differently.  I saw the look in my kids eyes, and I wanted to have fun with them – and build memories we could cherish together.

Lesson #4 – Sometimes You’ve Got To Build Memories

I don’t know what else to say here.  Sometimes life and the lessons we have are about building memories – moments you can cherish and look back on, knowing you made a difference, had an impact, or just had fun.  It’s not always about getting it right, or doing it right like so many people (teachers, bosses, co-workers, parents) want from us.

Lesson #5 – It’s Not About Me

As I put this swing set together, I kept reminding myself – "It’s not about me."  This one is for my kids.  I chose to sacrifice the days and hours it has and will continue to take me to put this together.  And that’s okay.  I have consciously made that decision – knowing ahead of time – that this is NOT about me.  This is about my kids (and in some ways, it then becomes about me).

Not everything we do or choose to do in life is about "us."  Sometimes we need to get past that, and think about the joy it will bring others.

Lesson #6 – Even Plans Fall Apart (Bumps In The Road)

I’ve had so many setbacks on this project – I don’t know when I’ll finish it.  I’ve had pieces break…  Pieces missing…  Unexpected rain ruining the manual…  Kids who want to play, and neighborhood kids who want to watch and ask me 5,000 questions about why the wood is brown instead of "wood color."  It happens!

Lesson #7 – It’s More Fun With Help

I am a kinda do-it-yourself guy.  Whether it’s in my business or working on a project for my kids – I am perfectly fine (and usually successful) working on my own.  But even though the nieghborhood kids were distracting me and frustrating me (to a degree), it was more fun having life happen around me.  But what was even more – was being able to ask my wife to come outside and help.  She brought our kids outside who kept getting in the way…  Grabbing the tools – measuring the wood…  And just having fun!

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