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    Perspective

    “Won’t you come into the garden?  I would like my roses to see you.”

    Richard Brinsley Sheridan

    Pip and Fig were colouring at the dining room table while I was in the bathroom brushing my teeth.  Even with the electric toothbrush going, I could hear a faint, unidentifiable clicking noise.  I turned the toothbrush off to listen.  “Click, click, pause, click.”  It was a foreign sound; possibly something dropping on the wood floor.  I interrupted my bathroom routine to investigate.

    As I turned the corner toward our dining room, I saw the back of Pip, happily colouring at the table, and Fig, happily dropping crayons, one by one, onto the floor.  The girls were unaware of my presence, so I just stood for a moment and observed.  I was very curious about Fig’s behaviour.  She wasn’t dropping the crayons to be naughty.  Nobody had ever laid down a rule stating, ‘Whatever you do; don’t drop the crayons on the floor!”  She wasn’t looking for a reaction from her sister.  (Pip was so involved in her art that she didn’t seem to notice Fig’s activity.)  Fig was simply enjoying the act of crayon-dropping.

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    It was interesting to see how Fig responded to each crayon-drop.  She would hold the crayon in the air, release it, study its’ descent, then examine its’ placement on the floor.  Was she learning something about gravity?  Did she like the sound the crayons made as they made contact with the wood?  Did she see the crayons on the floor as an artistic masterpiece?  I’m not sure what motivated her to drop the crayons, but she clearly found it fascinating.

    I tiptoed back into the bathroom.  It was one of those glorious mornings when we weren’t in a rush to get anywhere or do anything.  We had the luxury of time.  I could ask Fig to clean up the crayons after she was finished with her experiment.  It wasn’t necessary for me to interrupt at that moment.

    Perspective is a powerful thing.  I recently had the good fortune of meeting Matthew Hooton.  He’s the former Highland grad who wrote a brilliant debut novel called, Deloume Road.  My book club read his book and  invited him to attend our meeting, which he did.  Matthew narrated Deloume Road from about a dozen different perspectives; and he managed to make me feel empathetic toward every single character.  That’s what perspective does for us; it enables us to feel what others are feeling.

    Our children give us the gift of their perspective all the time; we get to see butterflies for the first time,  witness a rainbow through their eyes, experience the joy of running through a sprinkler again, but we sometimes forget to jump into their shoes when their behaviour challenges us.  I certainly don’t always take the time to see things from my daughters’ perspectives; some days are tougher than others and it’s a struggle to make it through to bedtime!  But when I DO have the presence of mind, (and the patience,) to slow down and consider how my children are viewing the world at any given moment, it always pays off.

    When Fig had finished playing with the crayons, I simply asked her to put them back into the container, and she did!

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