careful hands

It was 12 degrees and sunny so I decided to leave for class early. I got to Queens Park and sat down on one of the only available benches. I took off my glasses, closed my eyes and, along with everyone else, enjoyed the start of spring.

Amidst the singing birds and sprinting squirrels was the chattering of a 9 /10 month old baby girl. She was to the right of me, sitting in a stroller next to her father who was wearing shorts and a t-shirt. He picked her up with careful hands and cautiously, as if not to disturb the growth of the grass, made his way across the path and towards a tree.

He slowly approached the tree and when he got close to it he reached out and touched it. Slowly, his daughter did the same. I couldn’t hear exactly what he was saying but it sounded something like, “This is a tree.”

They stayed in place for a few seconds, then slowly made their way to a different tree. As he said something else, she reached out and they moved on.

It was like a game. A game that consisted of a few rules and some repetition. The game consisted of 1) the dad saying “tree” whenever they saw some tall thing that had limbs going in all directions and 2) the daughter signifying that she knew what he meant by pointing at it.

The child who was just learning the game was in no position to doubt what her dad was saying. Even if she could speak, she would be unable to question the rules of this game that consisted of saying and showing: it was completely foreign to her.

As a child learns the rules, her job is simple:  listen and follow.

And there, in a nutshell, is my thesis.

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Categories: culture, Existential Ideas


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