Today I realised the ability that children have to help one forget about all the concerns and deadlines in the world and focus on the 'real stuff'. This morning my son and I danced in the beautiful autumn leaves for the first time together. It was such bliss to run through a carpet of crunchy orange leaves and throw them up in the air and feel them falling on our heads. Moments like that I will treasure for ever. Although it did make me realise: that was the first time I had done that since I was a child.
This morning my friend Alice shared a true story with me and it made me stop and think about how busy and rushed so many of us are, and how in the busy-ness of everything we can so easily forget about beauty and 'life'. I wanted to share it with more people. (Thanks Alice!)
In Washington , DC , at a Metro Station, on a cold January morning in 2007, this man with a violin played six Bach pieces for about 45 minutes. During that time, approximately 2,000 people went through the station, most of them on their way to work.
- After about 3 minutes, a middle-aged man noticed that there was a musician playing. He slowed his pace and stopped for a few seconds, and then he hurried on to meet his schedule.
- After about 4 minutes: The violinist received his first dollar. A woman threw money in the hat and, without stopping, continued to walk.
- At 6 minutes: A young man leaned against the wall to listen to him, then looked at his watch and started to walk again.
- At 10 minutes: A 3-year old boy stopped, but his mother tugged him along hurriedly. The kid stopped to look at the violinist again, but the mother pushed hard and the child continued to walk, turning his head the whole time. This action was repeated by several other children, but every parent - without exception - forced their children to move on quickly.
- At 45 minutes: The musician played continuously. Only 6 people stopped and listened for a short while. About 20 gave money but continued to walk at their normal pace. The man collected a total of $32.
- After 1 hour: He finished playing and silence took over. No one noticed and no one applauded. There was no recognition at all.
Joshua Bell, playing incognito in the D.C. Metro Station, was organized by the Washington Post as part of a social experiment about perception, taste and people's priorities.
This experiment raised several questions:
- In a common-place environment, at an inappropriate hour, do we perceive beauty?
- If so, do we stop to appreciate it?
- Do we recognize talent in an unexpected context?
(The full story, with video clips, can be viewed here.)
The part of this that really touched me was the image of the mother hurrying her child along. I have been that mother! I am going to try and remember this story whenever I have the urge to hurry my child along. I need to appreciate and love that children don't follow deadlines, and this is the beauty of childhood.