The Missing Tile

If there is a thing I like it’s a great kiddie party. I like playing games with the children, living a day in their world, running, kicking, giggling, competing etc etc The few hours I get to escape from adulting are usually priceless. A few weeks ago when Hun and I were invited to one of those, we quickly cleared our schedules for that Sunday afternoon; he too has a soft spot for these young ones, too soft I think, and children usually sniff it from miles away. They tend to trust him quickly and a whole lot and in any occasion he is that ‘cool uncle’ who keeps the children busy with like seven of the younger ones on his laps, several others bouncing off his back and yet a few others tugging at his legs. He is like Santa Clause all year round. Wherever he goes he makes friends with 3 year olds and 10 year olds….. from my maternal village in Murang’a to an elementary school in Denmark. I digress, back to the party. This party had a different twist- the parents of the little birthday girl had also planned one adult activity that neither of us minded at all. It was fun and reminded us of back when we were in primary school, which was the last time most of us had indulged in it- painting. We had a trainer who took us through painting a flower pot and I was doing okay albeit a tad slower than the others. Since we were to carry the paintings home, I needed mine to be ‘perfect’ so I was very meticulous….. first sign that am not really a painter, since as an artist friend told me, painting is about freely expressing yourself and not putting yourself in a box where the lines need to be straight and everything needs to conform. Anyway, as we were almost completing the project, the trainer told us to mix some colors and paint it at the bottom, and since I was trying to catch up with everyone else, I did it in a hurry and did not look up to see which ‘bottom’ she was speaking about, and so when I looked up I realized I had messed up! Since then, all I see in that painting is that ‘messed up’ bit. Whenever I show it off, I find myself explaining that part of the painting.

Dennis Prager, an American author and radio talk show host, refers to this as the missing tile syndrome. He explains that as human beings, we tend to focus on the thing that is missing or has gone wrong often than what is okay. He says that if you entered a room with ceiling tiles and one was missing, you will tend to focus on that missing tile; that a bald man tends to notice the beautiful hair on ‘everyone’; the single lady will tend to notice ‘everyone’ who is getting married.

The obvious problem with this, besides not putting things in the right perspective and therefore generalizing and exaggerating how everyone else has what we do not have, it blinds us to the positive and hinders us from celebrating it. This happens a lot in relationships, actually in marriage more than dating. During dating we tend to be more accepting of our partners flaws than when we get married. In marriage the flaws get real and stick out like a sore thumb. We tend to start noticing that neighbor’s husband who mows the lawn while yours would not touch a lawn mower with a 6” pole even if his life depended on it. Yet, when you were getting married, lawn mowing was never a pre-requisite. The guy on the other hand begins to ‘covet thine neighbor’s wife’ because she cooks twelve course meals while the second course of any meal your wife prepares is a refreshing glass of water, garnished with ice cubes.

Now, this is not to say that spouses should not strive to up their game, it is a simple reminder to celebrate the other 101 traits that are adorable about your better half. Don’t believe that they can get to 101? Grab a piece of paper and start noting them down, and then drop us a comment below and let us know what your list looks like!


PS: This Article was originally posted on Arusi Guru Blog Page

Share this post.