There is a lot of drama when it comes to hosting grandchildren. A lot. Largely, I believe, it’s because David (a month shy of four) and Beks (two and three months) experience life with such “no holds barred” gusto. They feel things without toning down their emotions; they respond to every experience with complete honesty; they never dial back.
The grandchildren haven’t yet learned that there is a “mute” button available. Eventually, they will learn this. My prayer is that they don’t grow up to make the mistake that so many adults have, and forget that the “life mute” button isn’t supposed to be turned to 95%, locked, and then permanently fused into place.
From the moment we begin to engage the great wide world, we’re taught to “dial it back a notch.” In many respects, this is a great idea. In fact, most of what we understand as socially appropriate behavior involves keeping a lid on our more visceral responses. But I do wonder sometimes if we apply the sweeping brush of decorum a little broadly.
WW2 VET: Recently, visiting a retirement center to interview a WW2 veteran for a news story, I noticed more than two hundred yards of narrow curb running from visitor parking to the lobby; it was like a single train rail. Of course I tried to balance, arms outstretched and a grin on my face.
Halfway in I was challenged by security.
- “What do you think you’re doing?” he said.
- “Balancing,” I replied.
- “I’m going to have to ask you to stop,” he told me.
- “But it’s fun?” I retorted.
- “You need to understand this is a retirement center,” he said, sternly.
I didn’t push it any more because I didn’t want to embarrass the news organization I wrote for, or upset the veteran I’d be meeting. But I did wonder to myself what a little more fun might do to the life expectancy of the residents there?
To some extent – maybe to a large extent – I suspect that what passes for decorum in our day-to-day lives – and propriety, and convention – may actually amount to one of the greatest public health threats of our time. If we forget to live like we mean it, then we often forget to live at all.
If we forget to live like we mean it, then we often forget to live at all.
It’s a theory I may well put to the test; if, that is, I survive this week of grandchildren without keeling over first.