Perspective is a funny thing. We are often blinded by our own opinions and we forget to take into consideration that we may not, in fact, know everything. Perspective becomes painfully clear when we find ourselves on the other side however … the side we used to judge so easily based on our own naivety and small mindedness. Whoa. This is getting deep. Backing up. The reason for this post is that I now find myself on the other side of an old opinion. Many, actually. When you become a mother, a parent, perspective finds you-- often-- and wakes you right up.
Tapping in on some deeper reflection with a light example today.
In my short duration as a mother, perspective has made her appearance in many forms. One being in the form of the backpack “leash.” You know-- the cute little stuffed animal backpack that looks like it’s hugging the child, but with a convenient plush “leash” attached. I used to see this contraption and think, "Good lord, that is your child! Not your dog!”
I now know that yes indeed, this is a child – because I have one (two, actually, but this example pertains currently to the one). I have a child that is capable enough to walk on her own, to have her own ideas and desires, and is able to make those desires known, whether that be in the form of an attempted word, some sign language, or a shrill, ear shattering scream. She cannot, however, reason yet. I cannot explain to her that she can't walk unless she holds my hand -- I mean, I can, but it results in a boneless baby girl, screaming at the top of her lungs. I cannot reason that she must walk right by me if she wants out of the stroller.
No. There is no reasoning with a 16 month old.
So the other day, at the zoo, I attached "the leash." And this controversial contraption allowed my baby girl to discover some independence, to have a taste of freedom, to get out of the stroller and walk with her own two feet. She was able to follow her ideas and curiosities, but safely, with me holding on-- and she was none the wiser. She was quite content actually, and watching her discover and toddle around without worrying about the crowds or her sudden disappearance, was worth the sideways glances we may have received. The sideways glances I used to be guilty of giving. The glances from those who have yet to be shaken awake by perspective.
It's a funny thing, perspective. The stares I noticed were not from parents with young children, they were from teens, from much older adults. People that have either not reached this phase of life, or have been too far removed to remember this phase, and the beauty that is her need for freedom, and my need for her safety.
Let perspective shake you awake. It feels a lot better to notice the grey, over the black and white of opinions and judgments. Stop that judgmental voice in her tracks. She’s not worth it. Perspective feels better. And until you get there, open mindedness feels pretty good too.