Smell Incites Kin Story
My sisters and I had a cheery moment this past week. The third oldest of us returned from a trip to Ireland. She purchased these taffy candies to trigger an olfactory response thus reminding me of a Kin story.
When the four of us would visit our grandparents' farmstead, pictured in yesterday's blog, we would wait patiently for my grandfather's midweek visit to town. His return meant a treat. Always the same type of treat. One we NEVER had at home. Chewing gum. (I came from a time when chewing gum was thought to be vulgar--can you imagine!)
The selections he brought us were spearmint, juicyfruit, clove, and black jack. Only one of each so the four of us had to decide who got to pick first, second, third, and fourth. He would hold out the tempting tokens and wait for our process, ever patient, as farmers are known to be. Well, we all wanted the Black Jack. You would think the first one would always pick the Black Jack but not so. We knew if we'd been the last one to have that particular selection and whether it was really another person's turn. We knew it was fair to share. We held the expectation that whoever picked that one would have three pieces to swap and still have two pieces left for herself. But I tell you that moment of doubt was really tricky. No matter which position I was allotted for selection, if the Black Jack remained, I had to deal with an issue of power.
In adolescence, we'd reminisce about this event. None of us could figure out why he hadn't brought four packages of Black Jack gum. How easy would that have been? Naturally, now as adults with teens of our own, we see how the wisdom of the forebears really shines through in this Kin's life example.
He wanted us to THINK IT THROUGH.
He wanted us to experience an adult who could patiently witness a thinking process and not interfere. I watch younger children today and see constant interference from adults. Adults who mean well. Adults who want to show other adults that they know how to teach their child to make compassionate, kind, decisions. The adults mean well but what are the children learning if they never witness frustration, disappointment--or empowerment?