Tuesday, September 13, 2011

What Matters

I named this blog Crumbs in the Carpet for many reasons; one of them was a wry nod at the idea that kids will eat things off the floor, even if they have no idea what crumb came from what snack from G-d knows how long ago.  The title is a bit of a nod to the idea of serendipity, a concept I enjoy.

Today, I stumbled upon such a crumb in a meeting of pediatricians puzzling out how to best engage families in treating asthma.  I observed that some kids will embrace their need for daily medications if we figure out what the "hook " is, noting that the buy-in for some teens came when they understood that 20 or so Olympic gold medalists won their golds despite their asthma.  Asthma is not a death sentence for athletics; not treating your asthma might be.

The discussion leader applauded this observation with others like it.  "That's great, Brian," she smiled.  "That was the key.  You figured out what matters to that child, and he accepted your advice."

Simple, right?  What matters?  Just figure out what's important.

Right then, a tsunami of epiphany washed over me, and it's possible I appeared to cease functioning for a time.  I felt like one of those matryoshka dolls, but in reverse; start with a small one and layer bigger and bigger dolls on top.  Or, even better, like a panning movie shot, starting with one person, expanding to the hero shot, the town, state, country, planet, solar system, and Mind of G-d views, in rapid succession, faster than thought.

What wouldn't be better, if we all merely addressed what matters?  I saw a mother today with one of her children.  He's a cute 2 year-old very similar in personality to my own sweet 2 year-old.  I suppose we talked about him a bit; after all, it was his check-up.  What she really wanted to address, however, was her other 2 children and how they fight all the time.  So we did.

When I came home tonight, my wife needed to unload the very stressful day she had.  I listened.

Tomorrow, my staff will need to know how better to manage our appointment scheduling, and they need for me to do it in a way that doesn't make them feel badly.  Done.

My 2 year-old will want oatmeal tomorrow.  She will run to me when I get home, saying "Daddy home," and "huggy, huggy, huggy," and I will drop my things and squeeze her, and probably tickle her to hear her musical giggles.  My big girls will want to tell me about their day, and will want a book read, a game played, an extra hug ... and another ... and possibly another, after they're really supposed to be in bed.  So I will.

Not that this is laissez-faire parenting, mind you.  I can't get behind THAT idea, but when what really matters matters, I will try.  It seems to be important in the Mind of G-d, or just the world, if that's not your thing.  It seems so simple, but, in the end, "what matters" is an acknowledgement that another person needs something.  If you're in the position to appreciate and satisfy that need, it's not only an expression of unselfishness and humanity, but also an ET finger to human finger moment of connection.  Those moments are like supernova points of light in an age where heads bend over iPhones and eye and ears un-focus on anything but one's own self.

I'm not dissing iPhones, but only saying that the clear view of S.F.W (So Fucking What) had it right.

One thing?

What matters.