Recently, one of the world’s finest violinists played at a Washington, DC Metro station. For nearly an hour during rush hour he played Bach, gloriously. Thousands of people passed by as he played, and hardly a soul paid any attention, save a few children who were pushed to move on. Two days prior, this same man, Joshua Bell, one of the world’s most famous violinists, sold out a packed theater at $100 a seat. This is a true story: the experiment was organized by the Washington Post to explore people’s perceptions and priorities.
Reading this story made me stop and think about how I perceive beauty in a commonplace environment. Would I have been one of those “passersby”? Maybe. Do I appreciate and recognize beautiful sensations around me? What does this experiment teach me? If I were unable to stop and listen to one of the best musicians in the world playing some of the finest music every written, how many other sights and sounds have I missed along the way?
Nature’s Orchestra For me, nature and my relationship and responsibility to it feels much the same; I want to be responsive to its beauty, whether it’s leading my kids through example in my efforts of recycling, or eating organic food, or using vinegar instead of a chemical-based cleaner. In nature, the grass continues to grow, leaves fall, snowflakes flurry, and the sun shines all in its own time, whether I notice this beauty or not. Paying attention to the ecosystem and its intricate synchronicity is like listening to the finest orchestra being played all on its own—it’s up to me to notice and care.
We are connected We are connected to our world—the water I drink, the air I breathe, the food I eat, and the sun that shines on my face. All are a part of me and I am a part of them. And, like those who hurried past the unnoticed musician, I am the loser when I don’t pay attention. The difference is that if I continue to be part of the crowd passing by, not taking any notice, then eventually one day the music may stop. I am as much a part of the ecosystem as any one instrument is a piece of the band. As a mother leading my family to health and wellbeing, how can I not hear the music and take responsibility to preserve something so intricately linked and sacred?
How can you can teach your children compassion, responsibility, and their connection to the planet that sustains them? It may be easier than you think. As mothers, leading through our own example is the most effective way to teach any new behavior.
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