When that I was but a little tiny boy

When I was a very young lad at my primary school, I was told I couldn’t go out to play if I didn’t finish my pudding at lunch. So I’d sit, in misery, looking at the ghastly concoction before me, knowing that all the other kids had gone out and were collecting the newly fallen conkers or blowing dandelion puffs and there’d be none, absolutely none, left when I got there. Every so often the lunch lady would come by and say, “You haven’t eaten much since I last looked.” I knew that. In fact I hadn’t eaten anything at all since she last looked. Not a trace. And telling me what I already knew only too well did not help. In the slightest. Finally it was time to go to afternoon classes and she had to let me go. But not before she’d said, “You’ll have to do better than that next time”. Thank you. I knew that. There are some circumstances in which forcing the process produces nothing. Fast forward. Two nights ago I watched CNN Breaking News because of the latest outrage in London. The same information kept circling. The same vague “I got there just after it was over” eyewitness ramblings; the same comments from the same specialist journalists, who kept saying how unusual it was that there was no new information. Round and round. The network wanted results, news. The presenters thought the viewers wanted results. They knew their bosses expected them to get results, for the viewers, for the advertisers, for the revenue. So they kept on trying for what wasn’t there, yet. Some things can’t be rushed. Some conclusions can’t be forced, or shouldn’t be. Sometimes it’s better to step back for a while.