Are you like me and guilty of assuming your own perspective is always the best way to see things? If so, I imagine you also experience frequent reminders that disprove that theory all together. Here is my most recent “reminder” courtesy of a kindergartener.
So there we were: sitting on the back patio as a family, on a typical Saturday afternoon, when I looked up and noticed something looked “different” about my six year old daughter Ayla’s hair.
“Come here for a second sweetie,” I say to her.
“Sure mommy!” she replies and plops in my lap and gives me a hug. I begin to survey the “situation” and sift through her hair. I soon discover the source of my intrigue; a huge chunk of the hair on the right side of her head had been newly trimmed about five inches shorter than the rest!
I remember having a “Mom Moment” in those initial seconds of realization of what happened to her hair. I reminded myself to stay calm and approach the situation delicately. In all honesty, I was horrified as I thought about how on Earth we could fix it.
How did this happen? When did it happen? Where did she get the scissors? I thought to myself. I took a deep breath, in effort to prevent my face from revealing how I was feeling. The last thing I wanted to do was make my poor little girl feel embarrassed.
“Yes mommy?” she smiled.
“Did you cut your hair yesterday at school with your scissors?” I asked, as my loving husband sat next to me attempting to maintain his stoic fatherly face, despite the overwhelming urge to erupt with laughter.
“Oh no ma’am! I sure didn’t!” she answered.
“Are you sure you didn’t do it honey?” I asked, trying to persuade the truth from her.
“Nope! I didn’t do it. It’s the truth! It was Chase. He cut it right off!” she said as she began to giggle. I couldn’t hold back my own giggles at that point as I looked at her smile and listened to her sweet laugh.
“Why did you let him cut your hair?”
“Well, he thought it would be funny! I thought so too! So I let him cut it! And it was so funny! Don’t you think so mama?” she giggled. I looked over at my husband, who was laughing as much as she was at that point. I gave her a big hug and gently instructed her not to allow Chase, or anyone else for that matter, cut her hair anymore…no matter how funny they think it may be.
She agreed and said, “Alright mommy, but it’s ok….it’s just hair! It grows back!” And with that, she went back to playing with her younger brother.
As I watched them play, her words continued to resonate in my mind. Something I was so concerned about was “no big deal” to her. It got me thinking about how differently we adults tend to look at life when it compared to children. Kids have a profound ability to tap into the Joy of Life, while adults can be such thieves of our own joy. What other people think and say becomes so important to us that we shift our concern away from what brings us happiness, instead focusing to what we need to do to meet the mold of what everyone else thinks is “right.”
Children are so much more resilient than us. We tend to dwell on things much longer than necessary, and often in excess; whereas a child can move on so easily. They don’t let things weigh them down. When something hurts, they cry, and when they’re done, they move on.
As parents, and adults in general, we tend to focus on modeling behavior that teaches our youth. We assume that our way of thinking is what they need to learn from and apply. While in many cases this is absolutely true; I think often we fail to recognize that our youth has something quite valuable to teach us as well.
This realization produced an even more profound one. In comparing the mindset differences of adults and children, I began to ponder the incredible impact the many differences between us all can have on our own lives. Just as we innately assume we are the sole “teachers” and never the “pupil” of our children, we tend to feel the same way in regards to our peers. Our own perspective is certainly what makes the most sense to us individually, so it stands to reason that it must be the way everyone else should think…right?
Or maybe….just maybe….we could learn to take our blinders off and see the world through someone else’s eyes before we assume our own way is the most correct. Could you imagine the impact if we intentionally sought out a different perspective?
With that thought, I’ll leave you with a challenge for this week and beyond: Be on the lookout for encounters with people who see the world through a completely different kind of lense than you. When you find those situations….
Pause. Listen. Learn. Appreciate.
I guarantee you, if we could all make this a practice in our everyday, we’d be better for it.
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