Last night my ten year-old made himself a sandwich. Peanut butter and honey on a sliced bun. “Do you want help?” I asked, suspecting he wouldn’t, but mostly so that he could show his independence. He could tell me no. He’s proud to be able to do it himself. He tries to hide his smile, but I can see him doing it. It’s quite adorable.
My son’s approach to making his sandwich was to make sure that the peanut butter and the honey was carefully spread to all edges of the bun. Not just gobbed in the middle. Not to within a half of an inch of the edges. To the edges, precisely.
He enjoyed eating his sandwich.
This morning, I had to smile as I came to the kitchen, ready to begin the day. There was a fair amount of sticky honey on the counter. I smiled because I knew my son was giving it such attention, trying so hard in the way he thought he should. It’s not a complicated thing to make the sandwich. But for him, good, good focus was his game, to the edges. His extra effort produced a good sandwich and some good sticky remnants.
I’m reading about Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less. Oh, how there is something beautiful about interrupting the trance and seduction that goes by the name of “more.” If I let myself project personal meaning on to the sandwich making incident, my son, in his attempt to be so precise with his sandwich, was missing the ease of less. Now, he’s ten. Who really cares? I’m not about to lecture him on essentialism. For that matter, he might have just liked the way his sandwich looked, which I can fully support. Beauty always matters. Less, however, isn’t as attractive of an option for my son.
I see that many of us are learning about the value of less. It’s the old maxim, “Too much of a good thing turns out to be not such a good thing.” It’s good learning, I find to be applied in working with teams, boards, conference planners, and the lot.
For today, I’m just smiling at this reminder from the sticky honey and a boy that reminds me of a few things I’m trying to learn.