I watched a sad little video this morning that was posted by a parent whose young son flushed his fish down the toilet and then began to sob uncontrollably. It took some moments before the parent put the phone down to hug the little guy, as she clearly wanted to hold the camera on his face as his melt-down began. I couldn’t help but wonder what possesses parents to showcase their children this way, to use their emotions and vulnerability to create “cute” moments for the rest of the world. If your child is the focus of your love, isn’t it their right to have that become the focus of your actions as well? Are we posting these Facebook, Vine, and Youtube videos for their good or for ours? I don’t think I’m going to be watching these anymore. Cute as they are, what they’re saying about the parents isn’t quite so nice, and I’ve decided not to perpetuate the process by being one of the “clicks” they so anxiously watch unfold.
Everyone knows I’m not the greatest walker. I prefer to have a destination, a goal in mind. Point me towards a store and I’m on it. Tell me to simply walk for 20 minutes and I’m less than eager. Still, I find that once I start walking the air gets to me, the sights and sounds start to mingle into my psyche, and lo and behold, it becomes a lovely outing. When I’m by myself. When I’m with someone, especially the husband, something happens. We start to have discussions about which road to take rather than my usual “let’s turn here and see what’s around the corner.” We watch out for holes in the road, people being bothered by our presence, cars going by. On my own, I rarely notice these things. Which is why the bottoms of my pants are usually drenched in water from the damp ground – I’m like a kid who has to be told to go around puddles! – and I will stare long and hard at something before I realize someone is watching me watch them. Why not? That roof with the green shutters and pink trim is supposed to be stared at, is it not? If I’m watching for puddles I’m missing the best climbing tree I ever saw sitting in someone’s front yard. So I’ve decided that if I’m going to walk with someone, it will be in addition to my own walks. These walks will have a purpose. Mine will have none. The road less travelled has always been more enticing.