Wednesday, March 10, 2010


When you look at this picture, what do you think, and more importantly, how do you feel? Do you feel confused, bored, slightly agitated and restless? Or, do you feel content, peaceful, connected? Now, imagine yourself and your child/children in the scene. How do you think they would feel?

I was reading the book one evening, "Simplicity Parenting", by Kim John Payne, and Lisa M. Ross, and Dylan came over. "What are you reading?", he asked. "Can I see it?" When he looked at the picture, he asked, "What are they doing?" I countered, "What do YOU think they are doing?" "They're going to go swimming!", he answered excitedly. "Well, maybe. Or maybe, they're just sitting there talking, or maybe they are just listening", I told him. "Listening to what?", he asked. "Well, what might they hear? Maybe a bird chirping, or the wind blowing through the trees?" "Or a train going WOOOO!", he shouted. I smiled, pleased that although his first instinct was to assume they needed to do something active (go swimming), he could also entertain the idea of them "just listening".

How often do we get to do that, as adults? Just listen? How often do our children get to "just listen"? To just BE in the moment? So often, we are all scurrying around like frantic little ants, rushing to get from one activity to the next. How many times in our week do we find ourselves in traffic/in line at the grocery store/ waiting at the door for our children - our heart beating, our pulse racing, our hands clenched? Wondering "Why can't they hurry up? I have somewhere I need to be!" How many times a week do we find ourselves admonishing our children to "HURRY UP!"

I find myself longing for more time to "just listen". To just be in the moment, not rushing or anticipating. I long for things to be just a little more... simple. When I passed by this book, on the shelf at a bookstore I could only be in for a few moments because I was in a hurry, the picture spoke to me. I stared at it, transfixed. I imagined the beauty of that moment, shared by a father and his son, whether they talked or not. Then I smiled, thinking of a moment I had like that, years and years ago.

A good friend of mine from college and I were working at a camp. One day, everyone was going to get together and play softball. My friend convinced me to go exploring, instead. We wandered off through the woods, talking and laughing when we suddenly came to a spot that made us both stop. There was a brook, surrounded by trees, with the sunlight flickering off the water, and a waterfall up ahead. Without saying a word to each other, we sat down on a big, flat rock, and that is where we stayed for probably around 40 minutes. Neither of us said a word, but we shared a moment there.. just listening. When we finally left, she turned to me, hugged me, and said "Thank you. I really needed that, and I needed you to be with me".

Standing there in that bookstore, I imagined what simplifying my life and my child's life would feel like. I imagined him... one day... hugging me and saying "Thank you. I really needed that". It's so simple, really. Simple.


Brooke G. said...

WOW - that is ironic and amazing. Kids do slow down enough for brief moments to just LISTEN. I did feel like a big jerk when I rushed out of the house this morning scolding him for not already getting in the car and I found him LISTENING to nature and the birdies. It was soooo sweet! These are good reminders for us to SLOOOOWWWWW down a little :D At least sometimes! THANKS!!

Feather said...

it's a hard lesson to learn, but it comes with so many rewards! the trick is finding the balance. when to listen and when to getyourbuttinthatcarrightnowbeforewe'relateforschool!