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"I Choose Joy"

[Excerpt from "Choice and Challenges," by Janet G. Lee, Feb 1995 Ensign magazine.]

When our daughter Stephanie was five years old, I took her to register for kindergarten. When we arrived, she was invited to go into a classroom to participate in some games with the teachers and other children. As a former elementary school teacher, I knew the games were designed as tests for placement purposes.
A teacher was sitting just outside the room with a box of crayons and several sheets of blank paper, and I smiled confidently as Stephanie was asked to choose her favorite color and write her name. She can write all the names in our family, I thought. She is so well prepared, there isn’t anything in that room she can’t handle! But Stephanie just stood there. The teacher repeated the instructions, and again my daughter stood still, staring blankly at the box of crayons, with her knees locked and hands behind her back.
In the sweet, patient voice that teachers use when they are beginning to feel slightly impatient, the teacher asked once more, “Stephanie, choose your favorite color, dear, and write your name on this paper.” I was about to come to my daughter’s aid when the teacher kindly said, “That’s okay. We will help you learn to write your name when you come to school in the fall.” With all the restraint I could gather, I watched Stephanie move into the classroom with a teacher who believed my daughter did not know how to write her name.
On the way home, I tried to ask as nonchalantly as possible why she had not written her name. “I couldn’t,” she replied. “The teacher said to choose my favorite color, and there wasn’t a pink crayon in the box!”

Sometimes we focus on the "pink crayon," what we want want in life that isn't there; health, jobs, marriage, children, or other circumstances beyond our control.

If we focus on what is missing, we may very well miss what is there. There are lots of other colors. We can choose to color our lives with whatever colors are available to us. We can choose to have joy in our lives, even if there are challenges and disappointments.

May 2007

[Link for full Ensign article.]