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An Observant Soul


I am observant.  I like watching things around me.  I enjoy watching how kids play.  I watch how other parents parent.  What I really enjoy is watching how the Kid reacts in certain situations.

In these observations, there is one thing that stands out; the Kid is ME in social situations.

I remember vividly one family reunion as a Kid, I could not have been more than 8-years-old.  I was enthralled with the family pictures that they were taking.  That might come as a shock, someone interested in the family pictures? But it wasn’t that I was so much curious about the pictures, more or less watching what people were doing.  I was in the background popping my head up between family members as the pictures were being snapped.  You could call me an early adopter of photo-bombing. I didn’t want attention, because everyone knew I was there.  Just curious, like any 8-year-old.  There was someone recording video of this, probably on beta-tape.  Now, people look back at that time see my curious head popping up and laugh.  I never thought though that I would pass down my curiosity to my son though.

It didn’t stop when I was kid though.  In high school I was also curious and observant. I had no dreams of being popular, football quarterback, or homecoming king.  I wanted to hang out with the popular crowd, but not for reasons of being popular.  i wanted to see how they interacted with each other.  Basically see what caused them to react in certain ways.  When you think about it that might be why I never actually hung out with the in-crowd.  I was not into the same things that they were into.

Don’t get me wrong.  I wanted the attention.  Put me in a small group and I was the center of attention. I was outgoing and very social-able.  Church activities come to mind, probably because I was one of the few guys that went to church camp and did other things within the church. You could see a complete personality change within me when I was in a small group.

I was trying to find myself, finding the group that I fit into.  One that gave me the balance of being able to be observant but also being the center of attention.  I struggled all through my young adult life to figure this out.

Back to the Kid being observant though.  I was sitting there in the park watching a group of moms talking and checking their cell phones. A toddler starts to walk towards the swing, it sounds like the moms were in a deep conversation about shoes and not noticing what one of the children was doing.  The child walked right in front of a swing and was knocked over, crying, and upset.  The moms wondering what happened.  I look over at my son who is watching all of this unfold, he looks back at me and being able to read his mind he says, “If those moms were paying attention and not talking about shoes that kid wouldn’t have been knocked over…. plus shoes are boring, unless they are these shoes, because these are my fast shoes.”  He later confirmed that he was thinking that in its entirety.

While we were at the park, there was another group of kids playing on the play set.  The Kid walks over to them, to the outside of the group, watching, and seeing just what they were doing.  It was at that moment that I saw myself in him.  I flashed back to the family reunion video of me popping in and out of the pictures that were being taken.  He was not outwardly seeking attention but you could tell he also wanted it, just like me as a kid.

It is pretty amazing how quickly kids grow.  Every day they look more and more like you. They act more like you with each passing day and in 15 years the Kid will be a spitting image of me.

Sorry Kid!

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About The Rookie Dad

I am husband and father foremost. Secondly, I am a PBS producer and contribute to Traveling Dads and Dads Round Table.

Posted on October 10, 2013, in Fatherhood and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.

  1. Nice stuff. I’ve seen myself in Aaron a few times. It is by turns bothersome and wonderful. Have you seen the movie “Being There” or read Kozinksi’s novel?

  2. postpostmoderndad

    It never ceases to amaze me how observant kids are, what they notice. Even after 5 kids I find myself surprised at what they pick up sort of by “osmosis” – they truly are sponges.

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