Monday, August 23, 2010

A Japanese Grandma

Arica, Braden and I enjoyed a simple pleasure of life last night. It was so simple and so enjoyable that it almost defies any possible explanation.

Ours is an instant gratification society. We have everything we ever need right at our fingertips at all times. We have access to everything online. We have games, movies, recorded shows on the DVR. There is an endless array of entertainment vehicles at our disposal.

I sometimes even find myself hurrying to get to everything I want to enjoy. Hurry up so we can watch the Netflix movie that came in today. Hurry up so we can get to our TV shows before I fall asleep. Hurry. Hurry. Hurry.

It is so easy now to skip out on simple conversation with family and friends.  It seems that being neighborly is often a thing of the past as well. We hurry to our next meeting or the next event on our busy social calendar. This is how we live our lives.

We had a wonderful reminder last night of what can be truly joyful in life. Our family was invited to a cookout at our next door neighbor Jim's house. He lives alone. He has lived in the U.S. for over 30 years while all his family remains in Japan. This past week Jim's brother and his brother's wife have been visiting. Our neighbor and friend wanted to thank us for feeding his animals by having us over.

It was simply a wonderful evening. Jim and his family speak very little English, but it was a lot of fun to talk with them about their lives and experiences anyway. They were so kind and the food was so good.

Jim's brother broke out the harmonica and played several songs after dinner. We all laughed and sang along as Braden danced. Braden played with the cat and made a new friend in Jim's sister in-law. She was like his Japanese Grandma.

Japanese Grandma spoke zero English, but Braden loved her anyway. He grabbed her by the hand and led her off to play. Small children can certainly teach us a lesson in these situations about seeing the heart of a person rather than their outside appearance. The language of caring and love is much more important than English or Japanese.

During this entire time no TV, radio, or other modern entertainment device was ever turned on. There was no texting, no facebook, not even a simple phone call.

We were all so deeply involved in a wonderful conversation that it would have taken a tornado siren to drag us away anyway. I hope as Braden gets older we can continue to find ways to teach him about the joy of meeting people and the joy of seeing other cultures.

As life gets faster and faster in the years to come I think it will be even more important to remember how to slow down, simplify life, and get in touch with one another.


Brandy said...

it's really gonna be nuts when our kids are older because technology is taking over.

glad you could have a simple evening

Jill said...

I really hear ya on the hurry, hurry of our lives. It is wonderful to slow down and realize the important things in life. Sometimes I look back on how simple my life was when I was my kids' age. And I'm only 33. There were no cell phones. No computer. And the most TV we watched was Tom & Jerry, The Brady Bunch, and the Disney movie on Sunday afternoons. Our entertainment consisted of our imaginations and a whole world outside to be whatever we wanted.

What a great evening for you and your little family. We're all human... that is the "language" we all understand.

Eric said...

Sounds like a fun time..

Japanese Grandma sounds like the name of a sitcom, BTW. :)

All you need is a catch phrase...

Katherine said...

It is so easy to forget those things, isn't it. And it's so wonderful when our children can remind us, or even teach us, how to enjoy the simple things without stereotyping or judgment.

Thanks for sharing.

Tim Riley said...

I really enjoyed this post. We all need more nights like this!

Brian Miller said...

thanks for the bday wishes...sounds like a wonderful computer has been down for a few days and it has made for some pretty great disconnected evenings...

Captain Dumbass said...

I think I'd get the shakes being away from everything like that.

PJ Mullen said...

Children, especially toddlers, do seem to have that effect on people. Sounds like a fun time. We all need to slow things down from time to time.

Melisa with one S said...

I love experiences like that.

And just think, back in the olden days that's the only kind of experiences that were available...I bet they took it for granted! :)

WeaselMomma said...

A. That does sound like a great night.
2. I love how children really don't need language to communicate and or appreciate.
C. Who couldn't possibly meet Braden and not be wrapped around his little fingers.

SurprisedMom said...

It sounds like a wonderful evening out. I'm so glad you enjoyed yourselves.

Braden spoke not only the language of love, but the language of the very young. Children teach us so much about how to treat people.

Being busy is taking over most of our lives. It's why so many experience burnout at a young age. It doesn't matter if you live in big or small town America, electronics are taking over our lives. Only we can pull the plug and enjoy life. I'm so glad you did for one night.