“Too much!” I say to my 16-year-old. We have too much.
Don’t waste your food, eat what’s on your plate, I reiterate. Not because I am necessarily super altruistic about food waste—to me, it’s the “principal of the thing” –it affects us all—When one is a parent-one tries to set an example, teach right from wrong, good from bad, waste from conservation. Principals are tricky to teach-It’s more about action—how parents behave and act. How your parents acted-How you set an example for your kids through your actions. Words are a waste, we use them meaninglessly and ceaselessly. Indiscriminately.
I wish for the day when I can implement one Day of Silence at our house. To do so everyone in the household has to be in on it. To not speak for a day, a week, a fortnight. I do it at a retreat I go to three times a year. One goes about their daily routine, food is eaten with relish. It is as if we are down to the bare essentials on how to live well. We chew food properly until it’s masticated in our mouth, then swallowed, Movement is measured, thought about.
Beds are made, dishes are washed. Baths are taken. All this is done with reverence, respect and sparingly. After the retreat do we continue the silence for a week at home? I’d like to, if the family is up for it. I go to work. At work, the noise of voices overwhelms me! It appears to me that I am listening to gibberish. If speaking is having too much, I’ll take too little.
At home, my daughter joins me for lunch. We don’t speak a word to each other. We finish what’s on our plates, blow flying kisses with a wave goodbye! The economy of restraint. Maybe this is the way to live. Maybe. I look down at the floor and notice a tiny morsel of food dropped from one of our plates, I pick it up and feed it to the cat.