The Pasture

By Robert Frost

I’m going out to clean the pasture spring; 
I’ll only stop to rake the leaves away 
(And wait to watch the water clear, I may): 
I sha’n’t be gone long.—You come too. 

I’m going out to fetch the little calf 
That’s standing by the mother. It’s so young, 
It totters when she licks it with her tongue. 
I sha’n’t be gone long.—You come too. 

So much of our life together happens in the comings and goings. I remember, at the beginning of my sophomore year being surprised to learn that the Big Man on Campus was going to be living across the hall from me in our dorm.

Frankly, I didn’t expect to see much of him–you know, a busy senior with a heavy academic load, tons of leadership responsibilities, and an established group of friends.

I was shocked–shocked–one day when he said, “Hey Dan, I need to run to Wal Mart, wanna come?”

It was an hour-long errand. He turned a menial task for him into a permanent memory for me by asking me to go with him; by spending the drive in meaningful conversation; by including me in his life when he didn’t have to.

I try to practice this. Especially with my kids. Drive time is precious. They open up and talk about all kinds of stuff.

Besides parenting this works in a host of other contexts. Who can you invite to bring along? The destination may be as menial as a grocery store–but the shared journey could make a significant difference.