Perspective is becoming a theme for me lately… maybe it is because I am on the downward slope to 40 (more so than I care to admit sometimes), maybe it is because I am experiencing a significant amount of change right now, or maybe it is just because… Whatever the reason my fascination with perspective is out there. A while back (maybe 7 0r 8 years ago) I remember reading an article about kids and their ability to learn. I don’t remember a thing about that article except that there was, in the author’s opinion, a significant relationship between the ability of children to learn and the amount of time the spend looking up… literally. I can’t debate the facts surrounding that but the logic to me seems sound. Ever since then I find myself looking up… just for the heck of it, and there is so much going on up there… clouds going by, skyline’s changing, not to mention the seemingly endless canvas from shoulders on up compared to the 5 feet from my shoulders to the ground. I mention all of this simply because for some reason children have a different perspective on the world (which could simply be the fact that they spend so much time looking up…) and sometimes I find myself awestruck by it.
This past weekend my wife and I took our kids down to stay with some friends in San Diego. They had rented a beach house on Mission Bay. Saturday morning as I made my way out to the beach I found my kids and their friends using broken seashell bits as a money system for the adventures they were having with their sand toys. As I got settled my youngest came up to me to ask me if I wanted to buy any of the sea shell bits from him, which I declined but thanked him for. Then he asked if he could see if anyone on the beach wanted to buy them from him. As I was explaining to him that I didn’t think anyone on the beach was going to buy them I realized that I was not seeing things from his perspective. In hindsight maybe I should have let him try to peddle his wares, maybe just maybe he might have convinced someone else of the value that he saw in those bits of shell. Nevertheless I was missing the fact the he and his brother and their friends were working hard to find and collect these bits and to them they held value regardless of what I thought.
The point was driven home as I followed them down the beach as we went to hunt fort crabs. They all wanted to go over to the rocks ant the end of the beach and try to catch crabs… with no where to be I agreed to tag along and take them on the adventure (and yes this is how an impromptu Dadventure begins), it was the longest walk I have taken in a while, because we couldn’t go more than 20 feet without grabbing a handful of items out of the surf and discuss how “valuable” they were before putting them in our “crab” bucket for safekeeping. During this slow trek down the beach I finally “got it”, this was about exploring and finding new things, what they were exploring and finding are things I have come to take for granted… For them these adventures are their first forays into exploration. These are the trips they are going to look back on and remember how much fun they had with their friends and family. So I stopped to think back to my first adventures and you know what, I don’t remember the “valuable” shell bits but I do remember laughing and playing with my family and friends, I remember places and times when we couldn’t pack enough adventure in before the sun went down and how we couldn’t fall asleep because we were to excited about the adventures they lay waiting for us in the morning.
So with that I smiled, I slowed down, and I watched as my children developed the memories that will fuel them for years to come just as I did 30+ years ago!
Here is a little video I made of the adventure: