Posts tagged Family
15 Minutes
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On my first visit to New York city I overheard the following exchange between a mother and daughter in Times Square. Mother: I’ll meet you back here in 15 minutes.

Daughter: OK.

Mother: That’s my 15 minutes not your 15 minutes.

Daughter: OK

Mother: Because your 15 minutes is never 15 minutes.

Daughter: Ok

Mother: My 15 minutes is actually 15 minutes and when I say I’ll will be back here in 15 minutes that means I want to meet you here in 15 minutes, not in 20 minutes or half an hour or 16 minutes. It means 15 minutes.

Daughter: ok

Einstein was correct and particularly in this case when he said time was relative.

I have an ongoing battle with my own daughter over the perception of time. It turns out we all have our own perception of time. Even though we may agree on some basics e.g. there are 24 hours in a day, we can’t agree on what the passing of time feels like. As I observe my daughter’s morning routine it’s clear to me that her sense of being on time is completely different to mine. I’ve struggled for a number of years to help her change, to guide her to conform to the contemporary concept of punctuality, but to no avail. Now I find it's me that is required to change. There are reasons her lateness distresses me. The main one being that getting her to school is part of my routine and responsibility. When she is late, then I am late. Like dominoes all set to fall, her being late sets off a chain reaction that pushes on through my day. For her it stops the moment I stop complaining.

Rather than beating my head against this repeatedly I've decided to take a step back. I no longer want to deal with her in the morning. She’s old enough to take responsibility and I don’t need to helicopter around continually pointing to the clock with ever increasing alarm as the time for departure comes and is inevitably passed. So I no longer take her to school. Occasionally I make amusing remarks about how quickly time is passing as I get myself and my son ready but we leave before her. She gets a lift with my mother, walks or catches the bus.

There are people in the world that operate on their own time. For me I feel being on time is important, probably something I learned as a child from my grandfather that has stuck with me. I don’t like having my time wasted, that’s fair enough. But it’s also sometimes better to remove yourself from a situation when the only other solution is changing another human being against their nature. Who am I to say my concept of being on time is more correct than my daughter’s lack of interest in the very concept?

Time is relative in many more ways than we think.

Evan Shapiro www.amazon.com/author/evanshapiro

This blog is edited and used with permission of the author. Originally posted @ www.evanshapiro.net/blog

I love you, but please go away!
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Spending a week away camping with my family recently was both deeply relaxing and at times extremely frustrating. As I experienced moments of frustration, though I couldn’t always stop them, I could however observe myself as the feelings took over. Why was I getting frustrated in the first place? This was a family holiday, camping right on the beach with amazing wildlife all around and nothing to do but swim, nap and find a good spot to read and relax. I have one word that explains it. Family! I love them, but sometimes they trigger my frustration like no other human beings can. Our interchange with each other is based on years of behaviour. We all have our likes, dislikes and oddities. We can make each other laugh hysterically but we can also drive each other crazy.

I set my agenda early. Reading. I wanted to sit and read. And I told them, I told them all, don’t hassle me because I want to read this year. I’d seen others in the group do it, why couldn’t I?

As I sat in my camp chair in the shade of our makeshift living space determined to enact my chosen course of relaxation my loved ones around me had other ideas about what constituted relaxation. I love having a good chat, but can’t they see the book in my hand? Food preparation, an understandable distraction. Outings; can we go to another beach? Can we go for another swim, can you come out with us and catch waves? Yes of course, I love all those activities, and naturally it’s only fair I take my turn shared among the adults for beach safety. BUT I WANT TO READ!

Everyone had their time table and it seemed that their plans for one reason or another required action by me to enable their desired outcome. This is not a complaint, it’s just what I observed, more about myself than about them. I looked long and hard and wondered how I had contributed to being an enabler, a provider, a necessity to others, a conduit they had to pass through in order to obtain something. How did I come to hold that position? I wasn’t the only one of course. There were a few of us in the group that also filled a similar role for our respective dependents. Did we create this way of being because we want to be in control? Was it just a side effect of being a parent? Was it because I take my responsibilities seriously and I like to make sure those around me are looked after? If so why was I frustrated by it? I’m not one to shirk my responsibilities. On the contrary I would feel guilty when attempting to enact my own desires to relax to the point that, when the opportunities to relax arose, I found myself asking if anyone needed anything? I invited interruption. I maintained the structure of dependency equal to or perhaps even more than those I was ‘responsible’ for.

It wasn’t my wonderful crazy family after all, well not totally. It was me. I was responsible for how I interacted with them and it was up to me if it was going to be different.

Let’s see what happens next year when I sit in my camp chair, book in hand. I think I’ll make a few signs to hold up to help re-educate my loved ones and myself.

‘I’m not moving but I’m actually really busy right now’, ‘Before asking me, ask yourself’, perhaps just ‘Do Not Disturb, information download in progress’ or ‘I love you, but please go away’.

I guess I’ll see how it goes. Ultimately it’s my choice to go with the flow, swim against the tide or step out of the water.

Evan Shapiro www.amazon.com/author/evanshapiro

This blog is edited and used with permission of the author. Originally posted @ https://noexpertbut.wordpress.com