Monthly Archives: October 2015
The Duty of Kindness to Strangers
One quiet summer afternoon, several years ago, when my son was three years old, we went to the local neighbourhood library. There he played happily with a huge pirate ship set out on a low table filled with colourful blocks and wooden puzzles at the children’s section.
Soon a little girl his age came along and as they played side by side, my young child turned and gave her a hug as a sign of his affection and friendship. The little girl froze and let out a piercing scream. Stunned, my son stumbled back, his little face quivering with confusion as he battled with his own tears.
Helpless, I looked to the little girl’s mother who was nearby, hoping that she would reassure her screaming child nothing untoward had happened. Instead, the mother simply turned towards me and declared, “I have taught my child that no stranger should ever touch…
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The secret is that we don’t. We don’t, and don’t, and don’t.
There’s actually no such thing as an adult. That word is a placeholder. We never grow up. We’re not supposed to. We’re born and that’s it. We get bigger. We live through great storms. We get soaked to the bone. We realize we’re waterproof. We strive for calm. We discover what makes us feel good. We do those things over and over. We learn what doesn’t feel good. We avoid those things at all cost. Sometimes we come together: huge groups in agreement. Sometimes we clap and dance. Sometimes we look like a migration of birds. We need to remind ourselves—each other—that we’re mere breaths. But, and this is important, sometimes we can be magnificent, to one person, even for a short time, like the perfect touch—the first time you see the ocean from the middle. Like every time you see the low, full moon. We keep on eating: chewing…
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