n excerpt from Knowing When to Persevere and When to Change Direction, a speech given at Brigham Young University by Janet G. Lee on 14 January 1992. I posted this on Seats Seven, but felt that I should post it here, as well.
When my daughter Stephanie was five years old, I took her to register for kindergarten . . . A teacher was sitting just outside the room with a box of crayons and several sheets of blank paper, and I smiled confidently to myself from across the hall as Stephanie was asked to choose her favorite color and write her name. "She could write all the names in our family," I thought to myself. . . 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 her 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 piece of 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 muster, 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 in the box!"
I reflect on this incident often as I watch my children grow and observe life in general. How many times are we, as Heavenly Father's children, immobilized because the choice we had in mind for ourselves just isn't available to us, at least not at the time we want it?. . .
In other words, what happens when we look in the box, and the pink crayon just isn't there? It is so easy to lock our knees, put our hands behind our back, and do nothing when the things we wished for and dreamed about are beyond our reach. But to do so would defy the very reason we are placed here on this earth. As hard as it sometimes is to understand, stumbling blocks are essential to our progression.
Remember what the Lord said: "If thou are called to pass through [some] tribulation . . . know . . . that all these things shall give thee experience, and shall be for thy good" (D&C 122:5-7)