Last weekend, I had the privilege of riding in a van with members of my family who are not typically together in one vehicle. My mom was in the front seat, my daughter was in the middle row, and I was in a third row seat with my six-year-old granddaughter, Ava. As Ava and I discussed the role of a mother—how my mother took care of me, then I took care of her mother, and now her mother takes care of her—I decided to seize the teachable moment and explain that one day the roles would reverse again.
I told Ava that I will take great care of my mother when she gets older. When I get older, she and her mother will take care of me. With a stunned look on her face, she replied, “But Dee Dee, I thought you were already old.” She is very clever and quickly recovered with, “You don’t LOOK old, but I thought you were old.” Of course, we all had a good laugh. This is what I love about children—they call it just as they see it.
Her comment made me realize that we see the world through our own lens. Perhaps things are not exactly as they appear to us but are just a little skewed due to our perception. To a six-year-old child, I am old. To most people, I still have some of my best days ahead. It’s all about perspective.
When you encounter a difficulty with your child, ask yourself: “Should I question my perspective? Should I step back and look at this situation from another point of view?” So often we look at a problem or our child’s challenging behavior through one lens, and we truly miss a very important point.
I highly recommend a great read by Andy Andrews entitled The Noticer: Sometimes, All a Person Needs Is a Little Perspective. Andrews says, “Most people think it takes a long time to change. It doesn’t. Change is immediate! Instantaneous! It may take a long time to decide to change … but change happens in a heartbeat!” If you see something inside yourself that needs to change, you can do it!
Parenting is both challenging and rewarding. Keep pushing yourself to grow. Keep an open mind to the fact that changing your perspective on a matter probably won’t alter the facts, but it might help you see things in a way that will empower you to succeed.
Written by Donna McClintock, COO with Children’s Choice Learning Centers, Inc.