The little boy in the library

 

What can a small boy in a library teach us about our lives?

Plenty.

Kids love our local library. So do I. It’s a great place to study, read, write and contemplate life. Kids love it because it has natural lanes and spaces to play hide and seek and to run around and disturb adults.

So I try to get there early, long before the kids arrive from school.

What does this have to do with life and memory?

A little boy – must have been four or five – entered with his parents. As soon as his dad sat down with a computer on his lap, the child was badgering him to play some game or other. The father refused and promptly swatted the kid away playfully while his resourceful mother handed him a drink. He soon forgot the game. Until the drink was done, and he continued his requests, them, badgering of his father with gusto.

Mum proceeded to keep him occupied by playing some game with her fingers that probably made sense to the two of them. When he got bored with that he badgered his father again. No joy. Then he did what many a kid does in that library: run around and play hide and seek behind the shelves and chairs, giggling constantly and sounding amazed when his (slightly) older sister found him.

This went on for some time, until an enormous howl of pain echoed though the portico. The child, face streaming with tears, sought out his mother, who, after telling him the wisdom of looking where he was going, kissed the sore spot on his forehead. While a less-than-impressed father looked on, mother continued to pet him.

A snack soothed the tears and he was again badgering his father for a go on the computer. They handed him a mobile phone and he was happy. When they finally left, the child hollering some other request, his mother placated him by saying they’d visit the fast food shop.

What can we learn from kids aside from the fact they are needy?

They have short memories for rejection. They move on by living in the moment.  As we get older, sometimes we become entrenched in the past, losing sight of the beauty of today. In this hurried world we live in, try not to focus too much on setback. Learn from them but don’t obsesses on them.

It’s that ability to live in the present, aided by meditation and focusing on what lies in front of you, that will determine how you do in life.  So do yourself a favour – live in the moment – unchain the past.

What about you? How do you focus on today and not obsess on setbacks?

 

Toby Bain

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