I still have flashbacks to all those Christmas Eve nights, staying up for hours on end to put presents together, so they’d be under the tree on Christmas morning. But as my kids got older, the assembly became more difficult. And the lack of sleep – compiled with trying to read poorly translated assembly instructions – certainly made for some rough nights.

Luckily, the kids are older now, and very few of their gifts need to be assembled. And if they do, my kids can usually handle it. I only bring up the horror of assembling Christmas presents because I’ve already had to deal with a daunting assembly task – and it isn't even Thanksgiving yet.

I decided to buy myself an early gift: a comfy cozy office chair for my home office and the John Tesh Network studio. I found a great deal on a chair, ordered it online, and it arrived the next day. I knew there would be some assembly required, but when I opened up the box, I was slightly horrified by the number of pieces that came inside. The length of the instruction manual wasn’t too comforting either. Mind you, I'm not afraid of a challenge and I can handle putting stuff together – thanks to my many years of assembling children's toys. But this was going to be my biggest project, by far.

The first part was easy. But soon after that, things got a little dicey. There were multiple size screws, a selection of Allen wrenches that came with the hardware, and pictures that would confuse even the most experienced engineer. Yet, I was determined to persevere, and managed to finish the bottom of the chair. But after that, I got a little flummoxed by the instructions and my clear lack of the ability to understand them.

My boys had been watching me deal with this assembly project all evening, and I think they were getting a kick out of watching me struggle with the discombobulated mess. Finally, after uttering a few words of frustration, my 15-year-old came over and asked if I needed a hand. Being the macho dad that I am, I told him I had it under control, and that putting together furniture was a difficult job. He picked up the instruction manual and said, "This sure doesn't look very difficult." So, I jokingly said that if he thought it was so easy, he could take a crack at it.

Taking me up on the challenge, my son told me to go do something else while he figured it out. I walked away for about 10 minutes, and when I returned the chair was put together. The screws were tight, the chair seemed solid, and there were no parts left over. Yes, my 15-year-old succeeded in a project I could not master myself.

I bet he's going to be great at assembling toys for his kids.

Lesson Expert

Mark Edwards

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