What does it say about us grown-ups when we can’t put down our shiny objects in a darkened auditorium as our children perform their carefully rehearsed musical program? How can we ignore a Spring concert created for families of children who attend elementary school by tapping on our smart phones and tablets? Why do we allow the siblings of performers to play games and watch movies while the music plays? Arguably, young kids get antsy and need distractions (and so do grown-ups), but is this the kind of behavior we want to exemplify for our kids?
My humble observation is: Grown-ups who play with their shiny objects and allow their children to play with their expensive toys while the band plays “Kingswood March,” and the orchestra performs “Dragon Slayer,” and the choir sings “Don’t Stop Believin'” simply don’t want to be at their child’s school concert. I believe this type of behavior shows a lack of respect for ourselves and our kids. Moments like these often remind me of a story told by Leo Tolstoy about an emperor who sought the answers to three questions:
- What is the best time to do each thing?
- Who are the most important people to work with?
- What is the most important thing to do at all times?
The wisdom that Tolstoy set forth is that there is only one important time, and that is Now. The most important person is always the person you are with. The most important thing to do is to make the person at your side happy, for that alone is the pursuit of life. Watching my son and his classmates perform was the most important thing for me to do that evening with my husband. It’s that simple, but not always easy.