The Gift of Living in the Present – A Musing With Malcolm

“Thirty-six,” he said, looking up at his mother and father. “That’s two less than last year.”

“Darling, you haven’t counted Auntie Marge’s present, see, it’s here under this big one from Mummy and Daddy.”

“Alright, thirty-seven then,” said Dudley, going red in the face. Harry, who could see a huge Dudley tantrum coming on, began wolfing down his bacon as fast as possible in case Dudley turned the table over.

Aunt Petunia obviously scented danger too, because she said quickly, “And we’ll buy you another two presents while we’re out today. How’s that, popkin? Two more presents. Is that alright?”

Dudley thought for a moment. It looked like hard work. Finally he said slowly, “So I’ll have thirty … thirty …”


“Thirty-nine, sweetums,” said Aunt Petunia.

“Oh.” Dudley sat down heavily and grabbed the nearest parcel. “Alright then.”

– From Chapter 2 of Harry Potter and the Sorceror’s Stone

There are still unopened Christmas gifts in our home with Malcolm’s name on them. He’ll get around to them when he gets the inclination. And it’s not that he is ungrateful or apathetic to the idea of gifts.

It’s because he has an indigenous understanding of living in the present.

Every time that Malcolm has a birthday or Christmas, there are always gifts that will not be opened up for a while. Sometimes he opens something and it needs to be played with right then and there.

For a long time.

Because it’s interesting.

Sometimes he opens a gift and goes to ask for help in how to use it. He forgets maybe that there are others, but for that moment he has placed his full attention upon something else.

He’s good at focusing his attention on one thing and it usually is something in front of him in the present, not something that already happened in the past or something that may happen in the future.

Malcolm knows that the best present is the present – moment that is.

If I could live in the moment like this kid does, then worry and anxiety would not have as much a hold on me. So, I do the next best thing.

Hang out with someone who does live in the “now.”

Someone like this boy right here who wanted to get some ice cream in the Food Court at the mall…



… knowing that there were still presents to unwrap at home from a week ago.