My teacher, a trusty tea kettle.

I recently had an experience which demonstrated how differently people can perceive things. I was thinking about what my son might need for Christmas, and I thought maybe he still needed a good tea kettle. My own past experience with tea kettles was that they never seemed to last… until my latest tea kettle—which I have had for at least eight years, maybe even 10 or 11 years.

I love my tea kettle. It still looks good. It’s not dented. It’s sturdy, has a handsome brushed stainless steel finish, and is easy to clean. The handle is static, so it does not flop down like handles on kettles I have had in the past. The handle does not get too hot to pick up without a pot holder. The whistle works perfectly. The lid is snug. The open/close mechanism works beautifully—I simply hold the handle and move the thumb on that hand back and forth to push or pull the spout open or closed. The kettle does not drip when I pour. It holds a good amount of water. You get the idea—it’s a great tea kettle.

So I researched tea kettles online and found several and read the reviews, including the reviews for the exact kettle I own. My kettle had 15 reviews on the Amazon website—6 of which gave this product 5 stars, and 7 which gave it one star only! The people who didn’t like it complained that the handle got too hot, that the whistle was too loud, that it was hard to fill, and that it was poorly designed.

I thought that perhaps some coaching was in order…

  • What in your life do you “overfill”? When filling your tea kettle, do not fill it too full—best to keep the water level below the spout. This will prevent the water from boiling out through the spout.
  • What in your life might you be using the wrong size for? Use the right size burner—best if the circumference of the burner is smaller than the circumference of the tea kettle. This will ensure that the heat is under the kettle, rather than going up the sides.
  • Where in your life do you use “too much flame”? If using a gas stove, make sure the flame does not extend beyond the edge of the kettle. This will prevent overheating of the spout and handle.
  • In what area of your life would a snug fit be appropriate? Make sure the lid is snuggly fitted down on the kettle—this will make sure the air does not escape through the lid area, preventing the whistle from working.
  • Where in your life are you leaving gaps that prevent things from working correctly? Make sure the whistle is pushed securely down on the spout so air will go through the whistle, not through gaps between the whistle and the spout.
  • Are there things in your life you can adjust or do differently depending on circumstances, or do you get stuck doing things the way you have always done them? To fill the kettle, it is not necessary to open the lid—it’s quite simple to just fill the kettle right through the spout. If you do take the lid off, there should be no problem having the water from the faucet go into the hole where the lid was—but if necessary, you can tip the kettle just a little to the side.
  • Are you practicing gratitude in your life? When you are grateful for what you already have, you have room to receive more. Be grateful for a loud whistle… the whistle is to alert you to take the kettle off the stove, so you don’t burn or overheat the kettle! If you are doing things in the kitchen while the kettle is heating up—you do not need to wait for a full boil—you will hear a change in sound before the whistle goes off, and see steam beginning to escape from the center of the whistle. This is just before the full boil—and many advise it’s best to use the water just before it comes to a boil.
  • What in your life might you take better care of and benefit from more ease and grace? I discovered just recently (duh) that if I move my kettle off the stove and put it on a trivet on my counter when I am not using it, I don’t have to clean it very often, and it looks much nicer!

As my late husband used to say… “When all else fails, read the destructions!”

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