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Partner and Head of Family Law, Rugby
Two very diverse events recently have prompted me to think about writing this blog, the first was something that my son showed me that had been shared on Facebook. It concerned a Professor lecturing a group of students in America, I’m not sure what the exact essence of his talk was, but what I did see was a very visual presentation of the life values that he wanted to pass on. Imagine a glass bowl, about the size of a goldfish bowl, empty on a table, into it he put as many ping pong balls as he could, when no more would fit in he asked if the bowl was full and his audience declared ‘yes’. He then poured in some gravel which filled the gaps between the balls and asked the same question and received the same reply. Sand was the next substance to go into the bowl, filling the gaps between the gravel, followed by beer which was soaked up by the sand, on both occasions when the same question was asked the students said, ‘yes, the bowl was full’.
The Professor then went on to explain the demonstration; the glass bowl represented an individual’s life, the ping pong balls that went into the bowl represented those who you love in your life – family, friends, pets. The gravel represented the other important things in your life; your career, your sport, your home for example. The sand was the ‘small stuff’, the things that we may attach value to that aren’t so important, maybe a car, electronic devices or clothes, material things like that which can take on too much significance in our lives. It might be cleaning the house or having to keeping it tidy that get in the way of other stuff. The beer, he said was to signify that we should always make time to have a beer with a friend. He also suggested that if we gave more time and attention to the ping pong balls and gravel in our lives we could feel more enriched and content.
The second event that inspired me to write was the sad loss of our much loved dog last week and as a family how devastating it was to have to make the decision to say goodbye to him. A lot of time was spent on the ‘what ifs’ and feelings of guilt and trying to reassure each other that we had loved him enough and given him the best life he could have had.
So as you separated parents brace yourselves for the length of the summer holidays try to look forward to the time you can spend with your children rather than worry about how you’re going to keep them occupied for 6 weeks. All too soon they will be off your hands doing their own thing and all those opportunities to play and have fun together will have disappeared. Don’t get stressed out by the ‘small’ things you can’t achieve, concentrate on the important stuff, things can change very suddenly sometimes and it is really sad if we can’t look back having made the most of time spent together.
If you are struggling with the effects of relationship breakdown try and concentrate on the ‘ping pong balls’ in your life it might ease your pain a little and rather than living with bitterness and regret of a love that you’ve lost, shift your attention to those who continue to love you and in whose love you can trust.