Mindfulness

When I was a little kid, 8 or 9 maybe, so this would have been about 1946 or 47, I went to a large outdoor barbecue at the home of a classmate.   My parents were not there, and I didn’t know anyone but my friend Pat.  He and I might have been the only children there among 20 or so adults.  Soft drinks were in quart bottles, a new thing to me, and I didn’t pay attention to what others were doing, which was of, course, pouring into cups of ice.  So I opened one and was walking around drinking from it, when presently I was confronted by some adult – man or woman I don’t recall – who said rather sharply “I hope you’re going to drink all of that.”  Only then did I realize I’d made a mistake.  I’ve no further recollection of the afternoon.  Did I stay?  Did I finish it?  Did I discard it and run off?  Throw it away and hope no one else noticed and try to enjoy the party?  I’ve no idea.  I do seem to recall that it had lost all taste to me, and I wanted it to be no longer in my hands.  I felt that everyone was looking at me and that I just wanted to disappear.  Of course it wasn’t wrong to correct me, and nothing really wrong about the way it was done, I suppose, but the incident has stayed with me and made me mindful when dealing with young people – indeed in dealing with just about everyone – of not causing embarrassment over social mistakes.  And the awareness at my age now of how long memories last has made me regret the bad memories I have caused others.  One doesn’t know when one is young that which is common knowledge to everyone later in life, that some experiences will be with one — and with others – forever.  Perhaps you have something in your memory bank that makes you careful as you go though your daily round; if not, perhaps this one of mine will fill that gap for you.

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4 Responses to Mindfulness

  1. Robin Rudd says:

    Ron, I certainly have some of these from my childhood and teenage years. I work so hard to be mindful of the fragility of young, developing identies when I watch them and talk with them.

  2. Monica Welch says:

    I really love this post. Thank you for such an important reminder.

  3. Kim Moreland says:

    Thank you for The Daily Cups, which always provide me with joy and opportunities for reflection. As I read the recent “Mindfulness,” it put me in mind of a poem by the great Harlem Renaissance poet Countee Cullen, which here follows:

    Incident
    Once riding in old Baltimore,
    Heart-filled, head-filled with glee,
    I saw a Baltimorean
    Keep looking straight at me.

    Now I was eight and very small,
    And he was no whit bigger,
    And so I smiled, but he poked out
    His tongue, and called me, ‘Nigger.’

    I saw the whole of Baltimore
    From May until December;
    Of all the things that happened there
    That’s all that I remember.

  4. Jennifer Gartin says:

    A great post. This will stay with me.

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