This Is How Perspective Leads To Kindness

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Have perspective and get some perspective are life advice that people give and get. There is a learnable skill to understanding the definition of perspective.

perspective definition

We went to the store yesterday to buy much needed last minute items. Milk for french toast, apples to counteract Christmas cookies, the kids’ gifts for each other. While we were there, we noticed the trees and the ornaments and the lights were all on sale, so we made an on-the-spot decision to buy a small tree for our bedroom. On-the-spot purchases are definitely up my alley, but they’re not so much a part of Jason’s fabric. He’s more of a visit the item, think of—and share— the many reasons to not buy it, leave it, come back later to get it, find that it’s gone or no longer on sale, and let out the sigh of relief that we all totally and completely knew he was holding. But yesterday was different and when we got home from a date night that was also much needed, we put up our sweet, albeit fake, new tree and you should know that it is truly so very lovely.

The kids were so excited to have an extra tree to decorate that they jumped out of bed to help us. And because holidays and Saturdays and Christmas and lights, we let them. Chloe, not having seen a large fake tree before, took one look at the awkward layout of the branches, scrunched up her face in the same way that she has done since she was a baby unsure of a bottle, a toddler not so interested in sand, a preschooler saying “no, thank you” to the first day of school, and said, “It’s so fake. And unnatural.”

“Okay then,” Jason said, in a voice that can best be described as amused, and showed her how to spread out those “fake and unnatural” branches.

When we were done doing this, we filled every nook and cranny with pretty silver ornaments. Shiny. Matte. Glittery. Lovely. When we plugged the tree in and the twinkly lights lit our room with a glow that only a Christmas tree can create, Chloe took a step back and gave her nod of approval. I think that we all let out our own sighs of relief when she did so.

But Brody took his own step back and said, “It’s all about just knowing that it’s a fake tree.”

Jason, still amused, said, “That’s right. I accept the tree for what it is.”

I love this conversation for so many reasons. Our kids were, of course, not talking about anything deeper than a fake Christmas tree, but I really love the lesson in perspective that I got from their words.

The connection between perspective and expectation is startling. 

A fake tree is really quite beautiful if we don’t expect it to look and feel like a real tree.

An emotional tween is savvy and interesting and fun to be around if we don’t expect him to act like a first grader.

A date night that means solving the age-old which movie should we watch dilemma over text, during dinner, while our food cools, is a fun and rejuvenating chance to reconnect if we don’t expect it to be like a night out pre-kids.

A quick chat on the phone with an old friend is 100% soul soothing if we don’t expect it to be the hours-long conversations we used to have in our college apartment, in our pajamas, on second-hand couches, beneath fuzzy blankets, after nights out at the Cantina.

A few pages read of a new book before our eyes dim is a chance to turn off busy and step into all of the goodness that words can bring if we don’t expect the reading marathons we used to cocoon within.

A sassy coffee shop barista is just a kid amidst a newish job or a long shift or a busy day if we don’t expect her to act like an adult with empathy for the last-minute shoppers desperately trying to refuel.

And, when looked at like this, our own holidays and every-days are filled to the brim with magic and goodness and small, shiny moments that I can’t help but want to carefully tuck away in my back pocket and treat them like the gems that they are instead of discarding them as disappointments if I just don’t expect any of these moments to look and feel and be like anything other than what they are. Small moments that when strung together make (the real definition of) a big life.

I created a list of 27 Ways To Be Kind To Kids for you! You can get it right here:

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what does it mean to gain perspective

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  1. Love this! I need this refresher too – especially about phone calls and reading.