Monday, March 14, 2005

The Perch: The Benefit of Different Perspectives

Elsie and Baxter have discovered a new way to view the world: sitting or standing atop the picnic table on our back deck.

Baxter discovered it first. When curiousity prompted him to know what was happening indoors, yet not wanting to come inside himself, he'd hop up on the picnic table to look through the family room window under which the picnic table stood. Baxter found a way to see the things he wanted to see without having to go there.

Elsie uses the picnic table differently. She uses it as a perch from which she can better view her surroundings. She likes having a higher, broader, longer-distance view.

In both cases, they use the picnic table to broaden their perspectives; they use what is available to help them see.

Do we? So many resources exist to help us see and understand the world around us. We don't have to stay mired in short-sited vision or limited perspectives. We can seek to know and understand others from outside our backyard, cultural boxes.

But sometimes we'd rather remain in our blindered worlds; they're smaller, they're comfortable, and they feel safe. Sadly, however, our blinders restrict us to only what we know; we're missing the beauty and richness and color of a world we've not yet seen.

It's sad, really. So many lose out on the richness of this world because they're afraid to step off their decks of understanding. Me? I'd rather climb onto the picnic tables of education and knowledge and risk so that I might catch a glimpse of the world. I never want to stop learning; I want to understand. Sure it's uncomfortable to learn about people and cultures whose ways aren't my ways (both in this country and out), but I'm ultimately richer for it. And my understanding is deepened; my humanity is better defined.

Baxter and Elsie have figured out a way to literally broaden their horizons. Have we? We would do well to follow their examples; we have so much yet to learn.

'Til next time,


Splash said...

I like your blog, you have some interesting points!

I tried to explain that broader perspective thing just recently to my mom. I was trying to figure out how the ice cube dispenser on the refrigerator works. I think it would be nice to get my own whenever I need one. Instead she hit the "child lock" button.

Joan said...

LOL Thanks for the comment, Splash. We all tend to do what your mom did; instead of taking time to teach someone or to learn about something ourselves, we hit the "child lock" button (we protect ourselves); it's just easier not to deal with the issue.

But in the long run, when we hit the "child lock" buttons of challenging issues or viewpoints, we rob ourselves of the privilege of learning and growing and helping others to do the same.

Joan said...

Oh, Splash, one more thing: have you figured out how to open doors? Elsie can (she's a yellow, too). But she can't close them yet. Any tips? :o)

Splash said...

Oh yes. I open sliding doors, doors with knobs, cabinet doors, and I am looking carefully at the refrigerator door. Mom put child latches on all the cabinets so I can't do those anymore.

Mom says I am the "provider", and the other dogs here just follow me around hoping for some fallout.

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