Father Time: ‘Extra’ every time does not equal extra
by Matt Ryerson
Oct 02, 2013 | 730 views | 0 0 comments | 43 43 recommendations | email to a friend | print
The federal government “shut down” this week. I was having a conversation with my son, trying to explain to him what was happening. He listened (or acted as if he was listening) and then said, “You know what I would do if I was president? I would give everybody $1. Would that make them happy?”

“I doubt it, buddy,” I replied.

“Too bad,” he said. “You can get a sucker with a dollar and that should make anybody happy.”

It was one of those moments when you are thinking that they simply are too young to understand the complex matters of the world when you are suddenly enlightened and realize that they fully understand the matter of the world and that they are not nearly as complex as we make them out to be.

The innocent simplicity of children is something people always appreciate, but it is that same simplicity that sometimes allows them to see through what we make complex to view what would otherwise be obvious.

Later that same night we were going through our bedtime ritual which includes a cup of warm milk injected with chocolate-flavored vitamin powder for a healthy bedtime treat. Over the past several years, I had gotten into the routine of handing them their milk and saying, “Here is your chocolate milk ... with extra chocolate.”

Whether or not I put extra chocolate into the milk was irrelevant, but my daughter loves that routine and on the nights where I become distracted and don’t say it, my daughter will remind me and ask, “With extra chocolate, Daddy?” In fact, she has grown so accustomed to the process, that if my wife makes their milk, she will often take a sip, hand it back and say, “There is no extra chocolate in this,” even if my wife has put the same exact amount in it as I always do.

On this particular night, it was my son who enlightened me after several years of receiving extra chocolate nightly. He turned to me as I was handing him his milk and simply said, “Daddy, you know if you give us extra chocolate EVERY night, it is actually the same chocolate every night.”

After a moment to process what I just heard, I asked, “How old are you?”

“Seven ... and a half ... don’t forget that half,” he simply responded.

I walked away laughing and promising not to forget that “half.”

The wisdom a child can share without even trying, whether it is through their simple way of looking at the world, or it is because they don’t get distracted by the unnecessary and blinding details; either way, it is good to listen ... you never know what you might learn.

By the way, I appreciate the ongoing support I hear from many of you on a weekly basis regarding my writing. It only serves to inspire me to put EXTRA effort into every column. Get it? ... EXTRA ... well, if you don't, my son does.

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(Editor’s Note: Matt has a beautiful family — his wife, son, two daughters, Tucker the family dog and now they are down to seven chickens. Matt’s column appears every other week in the Wednesday edition of the Cleveland Daily Banner.)