Knowing How To Live

On another day that same week, I planned to take Isabella to the park. She waddled along beside me on the sidewalk. We hadn’t traveled half a block when she stopped to play with a little chain hanging from a fire hydrant. She tapped the chain with her finger so that it swung back and forth. She patiently waited until it came to a standstill and tapped it again, fascinated.  I tried to push her along so that we could hurry up and get to the park.

She started to cry.

I relented and she went back to the chain, patiently poking it and watching it swing back and forth until it stopped, and then poking it again. I wanted to rush to the park so we could start having fun. It took me forever to see that Isabella was already having fun.

At what age did I start to think that where I was going was more important than where I already was? When was it that I began to believe that the most important thing about what I was doing was getting it over with? Knowing how to live is not something we have to teach children. Knowing how to live is something we have to be careful not to take away from them.

— Colin Beavan, No Impact Man, p. 87

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