Posts tagged time
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

How long will our waffles take?
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Have you ever taken kids to a café, restaurant or pretty much anywhere that has required them to wait for something? I recently took my daughter, son and nephew out for breakfast as a school holiday treat. They wanted Belgian waffles from their favorite café. It was a little busy when we arrived, however we were seated quickly and ordered. It didn’t take long for the inevitable questions to start. ‘How long will our waffles take?’ my son asked. Like most children mine have developed a strange but understandable assumption that I know everything, that I am somehow tapped into a deeper understanding of the space time continuum in a way that they are not yet able to access. To them it must seem like I have my own internal WiFi connection and I’m not sharing the password. This connection, they assume, allows me to answer questions that are otherwise impossible to answer. In this case I clearly have no way of knowing how long the waffles will be. I’m not working in the kitchen, I’m not employed by the café, I don’t know how many orders are before us, I don’t know how long it actually takes to plate up the waffles and carry them out to our table. But of course they think I should know.

It’s at these moments I see I have a clear choice. I can 1) get annoyed and be cranky or 2) I can make them think. If I’m doing my job as a parent correctly, then I should always choose to make them think.

‘I don’t know,’ I reply. ‘Do you have a stop watch on your phone?’ I ask.

‘Yes,’ my son replies.

‘Then start it now and when the waffles arrive you will know how long it takes.’

My daughter at least is amused and starts her stop watch. My nephew smiles with an expression of understanding that I’ve said something that makes sense but frustration that it doesn’t answer his question and my son rolls his eyes but starts his stop watch anyway.

I relax as my coffee arrives and we all wait expectantly for the waffles. Occasionally they glance at their stop watches but they don’t ask me again how long it will take now they are in charge of measuring the reality. We are free to discuss other topics and I begin to wonder if this is a one-time winner for me or if I can add it to my parental war chest for future use. Only time, measured on a stop watch, will tell.

Evan Shapiro www.amazon.com/author/evanshapiro

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