My son was in a hurry today while we shopped for groceries. Spencer and Victoria will sometimes come along with me to shop because the bakery gives away premium cookies to children for free. Great little bit of marketing for sure, but I’m the one paying the bills, so how come I don’t get one? White and dark chocolate mix. Tasty.
He’s a little impatient at times and I continue to be amazed at how selfish children really can be. And yet you see moments where self-interest is genuinely set-aside in a concern for others. Bob Dylan sang, “Stone, cold, dead as we step out of the womb…”. I think he might have been on to something.
Nature versus nurture. It has to be more than either/or. It’s not as simple as black or white. Innumerable shades of gray in this thing we call life. So Elizabeth and I will raise our kids to be secure in our love and sense of community and to come to terms with the radical freedom we’ve all been given access to. Many of us run from it in search of something other. Something more. The reality is that life is to be found in a tangible sense of self-awareness grounded in freedom, choice and responsibility.
Spencer definitively told me to continue on shopping and get the fruit and veggies. He would go and get the eggs. I was concerned the carton wouldn’t make it back in one piece. I bet you there’s at least one cracked shell I thought. I trusted him to handle them with care, but was a little concerned for the eggs and for his own sense of self worth. I know it was only a grocery store trip, but teachable moments are everywhere and for everyone. He even returned the cart.
For the first time I really noticed Spencer’s efficiency gear engage. He wanted to get back home. This was no Super store as far as he was concerned. He had decided it was time to go and so he was going to help move things along he thought. Help Dad, a little, and still get a little closer to what he wanted as well. Should I call maturity or self-interest or maybe a little of both?
I felt a little pride and a little remorse. Things are changing. He’s growing up. There was impatience in his tone, but also a touch of confidence and maturity. I can’t believe he’s 8. Halfway to driving a car. Time goes fast. We all change. Little things matter. We need to pay attention to it all. Everything around us is telling us something. Seems to me that sometimes all we have to do is listen.
David Peck – Feb 2014