Tag: connected family

I’ve been reading “Free to Be You and Me” these past few weeks with my 6 year old. I found it on the shelves of my childhood home. It’s a great book originally published in 1974 by Marlo Thomas and friends. It’s got stories, artwork, songs, poetry and theatrical pieces all about life and the pursuit of happiness and being one’s most complete self.

In the back there is an afterword by Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.  It’s great information for kids and adults alike and especially for families who are trying to find ways to live the life they really want to live.

“I’ve often thought there ought to be a manual to hand to little kids, telling them what kind of plante they’re on, why they don’t fall off it, how mcuh time they’ve probably got here, how to avoid poison ivy, and so on. I tried to write one once. It was called Welcome to Earth. But I got stuck on explaining why we don’t fall off the planet. Gravity is just a word. It doesn’t explain anything. If I could get past gravity, I’d tell them how we reproduce, how long we’ve beenhere, apparently, and a little bit about evolution. And one thing I would really like to tell them about is cultural relativity. I didn’t learn until I was in college about all the other cultures, and I should have leanred that in the first grade. A first grader should understand that his or her culture isn’t a rational invention; that there are thousands of other cultures and they all work pretty well; that all cultures function on faith rather than truth; that there are lots of alternatives to our own society. Cultural relativity is defensible and attractive. It’s also a source of hope. It means we don’t have to continue this way if we don’t like it.” Kurt Vonnegut, Jr. 

As I read it I realized that what he’s saying is one of the tenets of Slow Family Living; that we don’t have to do it just one way. Kurt Vonnegut, Jr is right when he says, we don’t have to continue this way if it’s not working. There are so many ways that family life can work. Find the way that works for you. The way that brings you the most joy and lifelong connection possible.

 

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What Happens When We Choose Love

The other day as I got off the bus, I spotted a sweet young couple sitting at a sidewalk cafe. One on each side of a teeny new baby, maybe 2 or 3 months old. They were holding hands over the top of the car seat with one hand and touching her with the other. It was the picture perfect scene of a new family falling in love with each other. Fatigued but satisfied and sort of in amazement at this little life between them.

As I walked by I smiled and said “Aren’t you a sweet and beautiful picture!”  And my heart opened up to take it all in and to marvel at the perfection, the appreciation, the simplicity and the unfathomable love of it all.

As I walked the rest of the way home I could feel the effects of that sighting on my psyche. Bliss. Joy. Happiness and deep love for mankind. And I realized, that same feeling I had when I glimpsed that little family, that was how I would greet my own sweet little family too when I walked in the door.  I would see them with that wide open heart. And I would comment to each and everyone of them how sweet and beautiful they were.

I laughed to myself and wondered aloud why I would do it any other way??!! (And I think at this point any passers by were wondering what I was on or up to.)

So many times on my way home my head starts spinning with logistics: who is going where, who needs what, what will supper be, what moods are people in, is there bread for lunches tomorrow and on and on. And instead, for that moment, I was going to let all that stuff go in the name of feeling the big, deep love. The logistics would wait. Because really, wondering whether there was bread wasn’t going to make bread appear or disappear.

So when I got home, there they all were, in the livingroom, at the table, on the couch, on the floor and I looked at each and every one of them, as individuals and as an entity, and I said, “Aren’t you a sweet, beautiful picture!”

Simple as that*. And my heart opened up a little wider still.

 

*If this sounds ridiculously simple, it’s because it really and truly is!

 

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