The Coolest Thing that Paul Simon’s Audience Taught Me about Parenting and Grandparenting
I went to a Paul Simon concert with a friend who hasn’t quite tapped into the forties yet. She is one of the most present people I know. She listens carefully and responds openly. Her gaze sits right between us and her attention to our conversation is always unwavering.
I loved experiencing this concert with her because with the exception of a few pictures, a couple of selfies and filming her son’s favorite song, our phones were in our bags. As I looked around at the audience, I noticed so were most other phones. Occasionally you would see the glow of a phone, but it was infrequent.
This unusual sight in modern day crowds made me take pause. Other sporting events, concerts and even weddings filled with sub 50-year-old crowds typically have the afterglow of the blue phone light. The younger the crowd, the brighter the glow.
Not here. Not in a Paul Simon audience with mostly 40+ year old fans. They were present.
And even more Present.
Taking it in.
Feeling it down to their Souls of their Shoes.
Storing it away for the Mind’s Eye.
Is this ability to experience any moment through the heart instead of the through phone camera lens at risk of being lost as the more senior generations leave us? This makes me sad for all the Mind’s Eyes to come hereafter when the focus moves from the magic of the experience to getting the right camera angle so that it is shareable.
I went home that night and reflected on how my children’s grandparents are also amazingly present. When their grandchildren speak to them they are there with solid eye contact. They stop and listen. They make time to play board games. They tell interesting stories of decades before. They anticipate their arrival by buying their favorite food. They savor the moments with them. Their phone is no where to be seen.
They are simply present.
We can learn so much from previous generations. Skills. Cooking. DIY. Hobbies. How to do taxes.
But can we learn this phone down, eyes here, burning memories into the brain (not the Cloud) level of presence before these precious models leave us?
Dear Grandparents, Elders, and Grey-haired Beauties: Please keep showing us the way. Your presence will remain.
“These are the days of miracle and wonder
This is the long-distance call
The way the camera follows us in slo-mo
The way we look to us all
The way we look to a distant constellation
That’s dying in a corner of the sky”
-The Boy in the Bubble, Paul Simon