A few weeks ago, we instituted a rule in our house where no one is allowed to use electronics between dinner and the time our son goes to bed. We had slipped into a pattern where the kid would play his Nintendo DS all evening, and my wife and I would cuddle up with our laptops, her on Hulu, me doing some form of social media. All of a sudden it would be bedtime, and we’d barely spoken a word to each other.
The no electronics rule has been a wonderful addition by subtraction. We are playing games together, reading books, and generally interacting more than we have in a long while. Despite the kid’s occasional “I can’t think of anything to do” or the serious temptation to pick up my iPhone just “to check in” with Facebook or Twitter, it has completely changed — for the better — how our family weekday evenings function.
One of tonight’s activities was reading Shel Silverstein’s Where the Sidewalk Ends, a childhood book familiar to most as a unique collection of quirky poems about the sometimes strangest things. Every once in a while, though, Silverstein draws an arrow of poignancy in his bow that strikes dead center. Tonight, it was with ‘Poor Angus’, a poem about an average guy with an extraordinary perspective.
Oh what do you do, poor Angus,When hunger makes you cry?“I fix myself an omelet, sir,Of fluffy clouds and sky.”Oh what to you wear, poor Angus,When winds blow down the hills?“I sew myself a warm cloak, sir,Of hope and daffodils.”Oh who do you love, poor Angus,When Catherine’s left the moor?“Ah, then sir, then’s the only timeI feel I’m really poor.”
In the days leading up to Thanksgiving, I have been publicly thanking those people that make my life the opposite of poor, the people who have opened their lives to me, who support and challenge me, who love me, and who each enrich my life in their own unique way. They are, if I may borrow some of Silverstein’s words, the people who fill my days with hope and daffodils.