One Small Person
My grandson Lucien, and his mother, Amelia, had dinner with Stephen and me last night. Adorable three-year-old Lucien filled the evening with delectable moments, as together the four of us laughed and played, acted silly and serious, danced and raced around the house. I could list at least 20 such moments, but I realized this morning that the best way to remember last night’s pleasure, is to select one moment that stands out from all the rest and focus on that.
I quickly found one: Looking over and seeing that Lucien was dangling from one of our kitchen chairs, Amelia asked him to get down. “I’m afraid you’ll fall on your head. And I don’t want anything to happen to your head. I like all those ideas you tell me about.”
As he listened to his mother, a huge grin broke across Lucien’s face. “Don’t worry, Mama,” he assured. “I won’t fall on my head. I’ll fall on my face!”
I relive the incident writing this. Relive Lucien’s grin, his tiny voice reassuring his mother, the three of us adults bursting into laughter, and Lucien’s grin widening. For one long moment, all three of us attending to the same precious little boy.
How often does our attention gather like this toward one common focal point? How often do we really share a moment with others?
Even when we are together, it is rare that several of us concentrate our collective attention, focussing on the very same person, object or moment. Instead, our attention is usually diffuse, flitting from one thing to the next, resting for a second or two here, then darting there, each of us attending to something different at any given moment.
A child—a small person—is one of the forces with the power to seize multiple attentions simultaneously. Last night, Lucien did just that.