Archives for August 2013

Gorilla Bars

Lucas, I was running some errands with you this afternoon while Mom took Anna to get her hair cut. At one point, there was a woman on a corner with a sign that she needed food. I opened my window and gave her a granola bar. You saw it, and wondered why I gave her a “Gorilla” bar, which is what you say for granola.

Not wanting to miss the educational moment, I told you that she was hungry.

You asked why she does not go home to eat?

She does not have a home.

Is somebody still building her home?

No, dear, she does not have one. Every day when we tell you that Mommy or Umi are going to work so that we have a place to live and food to eat? That is what lets us have food and a house… it’s because we go to work. That woman does not have a home, and she is hungry. So I gave her something to eat because our family is very blessed to have more than we need, and to share.

There was a long pause as we continued to drive on, after which you asked “do we have more gorilla bars in the car?”

I said yes, and you were quiet, but I regret that in that moment I failed to ask what was behind your question – whether it was so that there might be another for you, or that we could have given her still more.

I have no idea what you ultimately took from that chance encounter with the woman on the street, but I do hope that part of it sank into your brain about how abundantly blessed we are, and the goodness of sharing with those so much less fortunate than ourselves.

A Day at the Pig Races

We went to the Evergreen State Fair today as a family. I’ve been in Washington for almost 20 years, and this is the first time I’ve actually gone. There was lots of agricultural and livestock exhibits, as well as some overpriced rides which of course we splurged on for your benefit and memory.

However, at one point there was an event for pig-racing. These were Alaskan Racing Pigs, and at fist, you were both excited to see them. However, once we got there, Lucas, you seemed disappointed to learn that you would not be racing the pigs one-on-one for your own honor, but would instead be a spectator as they raced each other.

Where Is Your Soul?

I figured that by the time I picked you up at the end of the day today, you would have forgotten about “How do you change your life.”

But on the ride home, dear Anna, you asked “Umi, where is the soul?” Though it was only in my head, I actually thought “Jesus Christ! what do I tell these children?” An answer followed shortly.

“Well, different people think that the soul is in different places. Where do YOU think your soul is?”

Lucas, you said “I think it’s in my leg.”

Anna, you said “I think it’s in my body.”

I told you both that I think it is bigger than the body… that our body is in the middle of our soul.”

Then with a surprisingly unexpected outburst, dear Anna, you blurted out “NO! Umi, Dat’s wrong!! Your soul is right here, right behind the dot that miss Lavenya wears on her forehead!”

“Well, if you say so, Anna. Like I said… people think it is in different places. What’s important is that we all have a soul, and that we are nice to each other.” And with that, you went back to quiet contemplation, sucking your thumb again.

But next week, dear Anna, we’re starting on epistemology.

Think, Feel, Do

This morning, when taking the two of you into daycare, Lucas, you said that you wanted to be like me when you grew up. “Awe… that’s nice, Lucas. Well, when I grow up, I want to be like you too.”

Anna, you piped up right away and with some ferocity: “You can’t be like Lucas, Umi! You’re already all growed up!”

“Sure I can, Anna. You can be anything you want.”

I was surprised to see how quickly you calmed down after that simple response. Little did I know that you were actually processing on a far deeper level when you chimed in with “Umi? How do you change your life?”

I was not sure at what level you were really asking that question… sort of like when a small child asks where babies come from, so I asked you “What do you mean, Anna?”

“If you wanted to change your life to something different. How do you change your life?”

Golly… This is from a 4-year old, I thought? So I said that you change your life by focusing on the things that you think, the things that you feel, and the things that you do. If you change those, then you can change your life.”

“Da things you think, things you feel, things you do?” you wanted to confirm.
“Yes, Anna,” I said, somewhat pleased with the answer I came up with on the spot for you. And then the two of you kept repeating it like a mantra: “things you think, things you feel, things you do.”

You’ll probably forget about it by the end of the day.