Young children are blissfully unencumbered by awkward things we adults have to navigate. They tend to take things head on and react exactly how they feel or, ignore them altogether. There are three such instances that make me smile every time.
The first occurred when we took our children on a cruise. Aside from lots of swimming and games, we also took them to an evening show in the ship’s theatre. It was a show featuring lavishly dressed dancers and music. One son, being approximately 6 years old had never seen sparkly, dancer’s costumes before. When the velvet curtains parted, his eyes got wide, he turned around and blurted out, “Daddy, those women forgot their pants!”
Another surprising moment occurred when my husband took one of our 10 year old sons out for wings on a football Saturday. We were out of town and he took him (here it comes) to Hooters. When they returned, he said where they had gone. I was very curious how our impressionable, sheltered son would react to the scantily clad servers. So, I hesitantly asked while fearing the worst but he said he DIDN’T EVEN NOTICE!
Last, but not least, one occurred when our 10 year old went snorkeling with his grandfather in the Caribbean. When rinsing off in outdoor showers, his grandfather told him not react but a nudist couple was walking nearby on the beach. Not only did his face more than give away his feelings on the matter, but he was reportedly more appalled due to their being old……
In 1989, the Replacements released a song with the lyrics, “You be me for a while, and I’ll be you.” Those words got me to ponder what it’d be like to temporarily be someone else? Being Hollywood’s most successful actor sound like a winner? Or how about becoming a gold medaled, Olympic-athlete? Maybe being royal would satisfy a fantastical life experience for some. I’d personally like to experience being Reese Witherspoon for a day due to her accomplishments: actor, author, and producer. She’s got a book tour, she’s beautiful and rich, however, I digress.
Contrarily, what if you were to swap lives with someone of a different gender, religion, or ethnicity? What about being a kid again and letting your kid be the grownup like in the movie “Freaky Friday?” Not quite as enticing is it? But it seems we may need to do just that to entertain being empathetic and potentially budge from our own rigid opinions.
It dawned on me this morning when I was getting ready for work the shirt I put on was a jewel-toned blue. I had scored a silk shirt of a favorite designer with tags on (!) from eBay. Strangely, the seller advertised it as purple. I realized the metaphor in that moment that each person sees things differently.
We each “see” based on our DNA, personal history, value system, and circumstances. Each of our views is limited in scope based on our location, both physically and mentally. It’s one of the reasons there are many referees on the field in college football. There is so much to see that it is impossible to assess from only one viewpoint. Watching games, we think we know what’s happened but after review, the head ref might change the call. It’s because he gets additional input from others on the field (and a camera or two). In that same vein, what if we attempted to understand others by taking in many different viewpoints before coming to our own opinions? Maybe we’d recognize we all want the same things and aren’t so different regardless our ethnicity, political beliefs, gender, or religion? Perhaps there would be less distrust and anger between us? It seems like a possible solution to all the polarization worldwide and even in my own home.
Praise the Lord for laughter. Praise the Lord for those with quick wit. He gave us this underrated tool to survive this crazy existence called life. I have a husband that can make any circumstance a joke. Sometimes it is well received, sometimes, not so much. However, I prefer it to not. For instance, when the children were small, he moved our family 20 minutes out of town to the river. Because all weren’t prolific swimmers, he decided to fence in all water access. There was a fish pond that got a circular fence; the waterfront backyard got divided by chain length fence; and then, the entire lot was enclosed in the same eyesore. Stainless steel fence framed every view. I said to him that it looked like we lived in a penitentiary. He remarked, “But isn’t it a beautiful penitentiary?”
Another example was when my husband (then fiancé) was asked if it concerned him that he was marrying someone who could inherit Alzheimer’s (my mom passed at 59 from it). He just plainly remarked, “Well, I’ll get at least 20 good years out of her.” So dreamy! I’m proud to say he’s still getting his money’s worth at almost 27 years. When I’ve been “poor in spirit” it sure has been nice to lighten the mood. I’m glad God gave me a partner who can do that readily (most of the time.)