Kids Still Remember To Smell The Roses..Why Can’t We?

I saw this on Facebook today and loved the message (or the one that I took from it, at least).


“A man sat at a metro station in Washington DC and started to play the violin; it was a cold January morning. He played six Bach pieces for about 45 minutes. During that time, since it was rush hour, it was calculated that 1,100 people went through the station, most of them on their way to work.

Three minutes went by, and a middle aged man noticed there was musician playing. He slowed his pace, and stopped for a few seconds, and then hurried up to meet his schedule.

A minute later, the violinist received his first dollar tip: a woman threw the money in the till and without stopping, and continued to walk.

A few minutes later, someone leaned against the wall to listen to him, but the man looked at his watch and started to walk again. Clearly he was late for work.

The one who paid the most attention was a 3 year old boy. His mother tagged him along, hurried, but the kid stopped to look at the violinist. Finally, the mother pushed hard, and the child continued to walk, turning his head all the time. This action was repeated by several other children. All the parents, without exception, forced them to move on.

In the 45 minutes the musician played, only 6 people stopped and stayed for a while. About 20 gave him money, but continued to walk their normal pace. He collected $32. When he finished playing and silence took over, no one noticed it. No one applauded, nor was there any recognition.

No one knew this, but the violinist was Joshua Bell, one of the most talented musicians in the world. He had just played one of the most intricate pieces ever written, on a violin worth $3.5 million dollars.

Two days before his playing in the subway, Joshua Bell sold out at a theater in Boston where the seats averaged $100.

This is a real story. Joshua Bell playing incognito in the metro station was organized by the Washington Post as part of a social experiment about perception, taste, and priorities of people.

The outlines were: in a commonplace environment at an inappropriate hour: Do we perceive beauty? Do we stop to appreciate it? Do we recognize the talent in an unexpected context?

One of the possible conclusions from this experience could be: If we do not have a moment to stop and listen to one of the best musicians in the world playing the best music ever written, how many other things are we missing?”

The message that I loved was the fact that the majority of people that stopped to listen were the children. Kids still see the beauty in everything. They still become excited by flowers, trees, and music. They have this immensely endearing ability to enjoy the small things in life.
As adults we become bombarded by never ending schedules, years of enduring pain and rejection leave us jaded and fearful. Children have yet to become burdened by any personal issues and the problems of adulthood and I believe that is why they still are awestruck by beauty in all forms. And part of me is jealous. If they can instinctively know the importance of stopping to smell the roses…why can’t we?

Childhood Development Parenting


Amber Perea View All →

I'm just living minute to minute, hour to hour, day to day.

2 Comments Leave a comment

  1. What a great story and beautiful reminder to slow down sometimes. As a DC area native (and now Boston dweller), I can really appreciate this story. Both of my sons really enjoy (most of) the street performers that play music in the T stations that we frequent. I rarely carry cash, and there a lot of times when I wish I did. But this is a reminder, too, that the appreciation matters at all. We should be better citizens of artistic landscape! 🙂

    • Agreed, wholeheartedly! While in Texas we are lacking in street proformers, I can always rely on my little one to bring every glorious butterfly, interesting leaf, and song bird to my attention. I always wish I could just see the little things the way he does. It is a special sort of magic. 🙂

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