The lesson might just be to shut up and smile
By Michael O'Hare
Published: Thursday, Jan. 10, 2013, 8:58 p.m.
On Sunday morning the snow on the hill in the backyard was nearly pristine but for what appeared to be a few deer tracks.
By Sunday evening not a bit of it was untouched, filled with footprints, slid tracks and piles of snow. And I might say, it was more beautiful.
Much comment is made about the innocence of children.
In addition to witnessing what changed the snow in the yard on Sunday, I concluded that innocence is not the right way to describe what children have.
Oh, sure, they are innocent of much of what the world holds, and we adults think that is good for them but that it would be bad for us.
But what children really have that we so-called adults don't have is the ability to do things without care, or in other words with complete concentration on the moment, what they are doing in it and without any necessary assessment of it being positive or negative or anything in between.
When daughter Shana called Saturday to ask if she and husband Rob could bring the girls up to sled ride on Sunday we said :”sure” and invited them to stay for dinner. Our son Ryan was visiting, too.
I always say the hill that is our backyard is really only good for sled riding in winter and bird watching in the warm months.
I had to work later in the day on Sunday, but knew I would enjoy a few hours watching the girls play. I didn't realize then how it would touch me and Mary Ellen.
The impromptu day was as good as any planned holiday!
After a long time at sled riding and the building of two snowmen, a smaller one I helped a little with and a larger one on which Rob lead the creation, the girls came in for some hot chocolate and snacks and then went back out.
I didn't watch what they did initially, but then when I looked out each of them was in a different part of the yard, each either sitting or prone on the snow and quite absorbed in whatever they were doing with the snow, uninterested in the other.
It was a picture of utter concentration, totally involved in whatever had struck their fancy. It was, in another way of thinking, complete serenity.
There was a spark of adulthood when the dog, Cami, started to wander away and when the girls were called and asked to bring her back the two older girls had a bit of a disagreement about who would go. But that was resolved quickly when Cami wandered back to them.
Small, insignificant things, to be sure. Yet, they are the perfect things.
What do we lose as adults that takes us out of the picture at times? It is not about innocence.
Perhaps children just have, and we have lost, that freedom of being spontaneously pulled into life's mysteries. Adults need, too often, to assess what we are doing, even asking ourselves: Are we happy?
Or like a person rapidly snapping away with a camera, we are thinking of how we will tell others about how much fun we had, while missing the fun we are having. Children certainly do not do that, in fact rarely do they offer a post-play wrap up. It is only the adults who says dumb things such as: “Did we have fun?”
So what shall I take from this Sunday event. I could come up with lots more observation, lots more assessment of childhood and adulthood.
Instead, the lesson might just be to shut up and smile, and even having said that is too much.
Meandering appears on Fridays. To share your thoughts on this column (or on most anything) with News Editor Mike O'Hare, write to the Leader Times, P.O. Box 978, Kittanning, PA 16201 or via e-mail to email@example.com.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Kovacevic: Big Ben’s contract clock ticking
- Westmoreland County Courthouse in Greensburg to be featured in TV series
- Democratic governor candidate Wagner remains confident amid skepticism
- W.Pa. engineer aboard missing Malaysia Airlines flight
- Junior ROTC program a training ground
- Talented center Sutter is proving to be ‘pretty important’ for Penguins
- Ailing Downtown August Wilson Center awaits rescue; no real estate offers yet
- Analysis: Kesler still on Pens’ radar as Shero aims to bring back ‘Big 3’
- Parking tickets spark outrage
- Tax refund promise led Ligonier Valley High School teacher to second career as corgi breeder
- Value of college in doubt, poll finds