Wednesday, April 15, 2009


Apparently Reed doesn't agree with writer and philosopher Eric Hoffer, who said, "A man by himself is in bad company." On Monday, Reed was sitting in the playroom watching a DVD. When I walked through the room, I asked, "Reed, do you need anything?" He answered, "Yes. Privacy."

I halted mid-step and smiled. If I didn't know better, I probably would have wondered if I heard right. But, I knew better. In his six, nearly seven, years, Reed has often caught me off guard by his unexpected and utterly frank responses to my inquiries. An example? A request for a kiss received the declaration, "No, Mom. Your breath smells." (How's that for honesty?)

So, Reed wanted privacy. When I shared this story, someone asked if he takes this after Tim. I thought about it and realized that if Reed has inherited a need for solitude, it has come through both his parents. Both of us are true introverts, who rest and recharge through alone time. Now, I'm not sure that Reed is an introvert - he's much more of a people person than Tim or myself - but I love how he recognized his need for privacy and wasn't afraid to ask for it.

I found many interesting thoughts as I read about this idea of solitude. Blaise Pascal believed that “All men's miseries derive from not being able to sit in a quiet room alone." Thomas Edison mused, "The best thinking has been done in solitude." And Martin Buber wrote that "Solitude is the place of purification." Hmmm ... all good, encouraging ideas for a person such as myself.

I really like Aldous Huxley's belief: "The more powerful and original a mind, the more it will incline towards the religion of solitude." If Huxley is correct, then I believe I'll hear Reed's request for privacy a lot more in the coming years. (Who doesn't believe their child has a "power and original mind"?)

However, I know that if I pressed the issue and asked Reed why he wanted privacy, he'd most likely channel H.G. Wells and offer this utterly frank yet simple reply: "Go away, I'm all right!"

1 comment:

Rachel said...

It shows a lot of emotional maturity that he knew he needed some alone time! I think my life would be easier when I could recognize simple internal cues like that.