Respect for personal space includes all the things which make us an individual. Life longs to be recognized as being.
It is my habit (inside the box) to drop into Dennis’ for breakfast on Sunday mornings. It gives me an opportunity to proof read my article for uploading to my site later on in the day. It also gives me a chance to observe other people’s interactions with each other.
Today was just another Sunday and I was immersed in reviewing my article while waiting for my breakfast. I looked up and let my eyes wonder around the tables. In the booth in front of me I noticed a couple with their two children. The children were younger-a boy and girl, perhaps between two and three years old. The parents were jointly involved in admonishing the boy for his behavior. I watched and listened for awhile. Perhaps it was this loud scolding that caused me to look up. The boy would just not listen to his father. I went back to reading and awhile later my concentration was broken by the loudness of the parents who were now having a go at each other.
There is nothing unusual about this behavior, and in my experience I see it often. I am not making any judgments about the event. It is just one way of parenting and interacting with each other-it is neither good nor bad and it either works for them or it doesn’t.
Directly across from their table I noticed another family. There were two parents sitting close to each other on one side of the table. The wife was reassuringly scratching her husbands back as his gaze looked to his children across the table. Three children squeezed into the bench seat on the other side of the table made up the other half of the family. The kids were busy colouring the drawings received by the waitress with limited choices of crayons.
The kids were a little older than the ones at the first table, ranging from ages four or five to 10-11. The one thing that struck me the most at first awareness was the peace at the table. The parents were talking calmly to each other while the children busied themselves with the colouring at hand. They were shoulder to shoulder and few words were spoken between then as they bathed in the joy of the moment. Within the peace of their crowded booth I could hear the silent voices of contentment and acknowledgement of a joyous adventure-three bodies joined together and separately in expressions of colour and accomplishment. The middle child Dexter was first to quietly hold up his paper for his parents to look at. Both acknowledged his creativity. At times like this I usually see competition for the parent’s approval between kids, but each one held up their paper and it was recognized.
The food had just arrived, and the papers were calmly collected and stored. The dishes were placed and everyone quietly went on with the business of eating their breakfast and I went back to my reading.
Their body language and presence flooded my awareness as I tried respectfully to turn back to my reading. For a family of five sitting together in a crowded booth and saying very little-they spoke volumes.
The youngest, Katie, didn’t want to eat her bacon, so she offered it to her siblings. Cassandra-the oldest respectfully took the bacon from her. The parents watched on as the exchange was completed. Juliet, the mother offered Katie some toast and jam to replace the bacon and it was received. This may not be that unusual, but it was the way it was done. It was done with joy, gratitude and respect for each of the individuals. It wasn’t forced or demanded, there was not scolding or an effort to overpower.
During the breakfast, Dexter offered some information to his dad, Gordon, as to the significance of some behavior and what the consequence of it would be as an adult. Clearly there has been some good parenting, education and equality between parents and children. The children are bright and respectful and so are the parents. The children finished their breakfast and got a little playful with dad and started playing footsies, however it wasn’t aggressive playing and again done with respect-quietly. I am not sure if anyone even noticed the table.
I want to thank the parents Gordon, and Juliet-the children, Katie, Dexter and Cassandra for the opportunity to experience their presence. It was a heart felt reminder for me of how and were peace starts-it starts in the family with respect for each other’s space and their unique individuality.
At first light it may appear I caught them on a good day-parents and children well behaved. However, it was very obvious that on a much deeper level the family was joined with spirit and bonded well. It was the complete opposite of what I witnessed at the first table were getting into someone’s face was the norm for the parents and it was passed on to the children even at their very young age.
In my awareness of the events, I was given a choice of how I would like to experience others. In the experiences of the two families it cannot be said that either was right or wrong. It is simply a matter of choice-how do we wish to experience ourselves and others in the moment and what better reflects my own values and enlightenment.
Peace and happiness are what all of us desire the most at some level of our consciousness. This family is ambassadors for these rare and highly sought after qualities even if it is only in the moment of another’s awareness.