Recently I listened to a thought provoking audio clip by the late Alan Watts.
Alan Watts was a British-born philosopher, writer, and speaker and was recognized as an interpreter of Eastern philosophy for a Western audience. Did you know that? I didn’t and I am British! In this clip Watts observes,
” In music, one doesn’t make the end of the composition the point of the composition.
If that were so, the best conductors would be those who played fastest, and there would be composers who wrote only finales. People would go to concerts just to hear one crashing chord — because that’s the end!”
He goes onto observe that the way we live gives a different impression. Our school systems and cultural values are such that we tend to focus on one goal after another and forget to enjoy the journey. First we work our way through grade school, high school, and maybe college, and graduate school.
Finally we enter adulthood and we continue to focus on goals and achievements.
“And all the time “the thing” is coming — It’s coming, it’s coming! — that great thing: the success you’re working for.
Then when you wake up one day, about 40 years old, you say, “My God, I’ve arrived! I’m there!” And you don’t feel very different from what you always felt. And there’s a slight let down because you feel there was a hoax.
And there was a hoax.
A dreadful hoax.
They made you miss everything.
We thought of life by analogy with a journey, with a pilgrimage, which had a serious purpose at the end, and the thing was to get to that end: success, or whatever it is, or maybe heaven after you’re dead.
But we missed the point the whole way along.
It was a musical thing — and you were supposed to sing, or dance, while the music was being played.”
You can hear the whole audio clip here. It’s only a few minutes long and is well worth a listen.
I don’t know about you, but the last sentence really hit me over the head.
Life is a like a beautiful piece of music and we are supposed to sing or to dance WHILE the music is being played.
I have to confess that sometimes I get so focused on my destination I forget to enjoy the journey. All I can think about is getting there. I strive for the next goal, and the next, and the next. But when that happens I miss all the beautiful music that happens along the way.
I think the same thing can happen with our children. Sometimes we become so focused on getting to the next thing, whatever that may be. We concentrate so hard on getting through each day and helping our children reach adulthood that we forget to enjoy all the joy and wonder along the way.
Anna Quinden summed it up beautifully when she wrote, ““I wish I had not been in such a hurry to get on to the next thing: dinner, bath, book, bed. I wish I had treasured the doing a little more and the getting it done a little less.”
Does that sound familiar? Take a look at your life. If you find yourself
- Constantly pushing or nagging to get onto the next thing (whatever that may be).
- Wishing your children would get past the challenges of their present age and move on.
- Longing for your kids to leave childish ways behind and finally learn/remember to (fill in the blank).
Perhaps it’s time to focus a little less on “getting there” and a little more on simply BEING.
Perhaps it is time to stop and treasure the time you have with your children NOW.
Perhaps it’s time to dance and sing with your children WHILE the music of their childhood is playing.
I would really like to hear your thoughts. How are you enjoying the journey with your children? What challenges do you face? Please leave a comment below. We bloggers love to receive comments 🙂
Photo Credit: “Mike” Michael L. Baird, flickr.bairdphotos.com