Sometimes it takes little reminders to see things through my children’s eyes. I’ll be going along with my day, working with them on their maths problems, supporting them in their projects, telling them how to spell ‘Wednesday’ properly, making family meals, you know… being the parent. Then something happens that draws me up short and for a moment, I’m looking at the world through my child’s eyes. Today was a good example.

My four year old son is immersed in an insect project. He collects them, observes them in little pots and makes drawings of them. If you read my last post, you’ll know that we have been frequenting local ponds and watching damselflies. Today he and his sister made butterfly feeders—paper plates covered with a syrupy mixture of banana, sugar and water, hanging from a branch.

Part of my role as his learning mentor is to stay out of his way as he directs his own learning, but also to be present when he needs me. When he’s working on his projects, I take notes and document what he’s doing by taking photographs. I ask questions and make gentle offers. Today he said, “Could you tie a knot at the top of these strings please?” So I did. Later he handed me his butterfly feeder and asked, “Could you hang this on the branch?” Of course.

But before I did, I handed him the camera and asked if he’d like to take photos of me putting it into place. Here are the photos he took.

butterfly feeder 1

(It really is just bananas and brown sugar, trust me.)

butterfly feeder 2

15 May 2014 029

There’s the feeder he made. There’s my owl apron. There’s the tree. At his eye level, that’s what he can see.

When I looked back at the pictures later, I realised afresh how different his perspective is. He can’t see what’s on the countertop. He can’t see my face unless his lifts his chin or if I pick him up. His world is about a meter below mine. Sometimes we misunderstand each other because, well, we just see things differently.

These photos were a reminder to me today—to get down there too. To resist the trap of thinking he can see what I see, that he can feel what I feel. I need to put myself in his picture. That’s where connection happens.

© Lisa Hassan Scott 2014.

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Little reminders: compassion, learning and connection
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11 thoughts on “Little reminders: compassion, learning and connection

  • 15/05/2014 at 10:28 pm
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    A timely reminder, thank you, for a mother whose boy spends his life campaigning for “up, up, up”, and no wonder, given how little he can see otherwise. And going down to his level works wonders whenever the calamities are attacking him. It takes us out of the “me=high=superior; you=low=there to do what you’re told” position. Now if only my centre of gravity made it easier to keep changing heights, rather than an undertaking that needs 20 minutes’ notice and a hoist…

    • 18/05/2014 at 9:30 pm
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      and no wonder, given how little he can see otherwise.

      You know what’s interesting? I had the same take on it– “he can see so little down there.” But then I realised that actually, he can see rather a lot. It’s just the stuff I usually ignore. He sees a lot of insects. He sees the splodges of maple syrup on my kitchen cupboards, he can see what’s underneath his toy cupboard (dust bunnies!)….

      And yes, you are right, there is a tendency toward a misunderstanding of roles (one is superior to another), a disconnection if you like, when we fail to take a moment to try to see another person’s point of view. It can happen between adults too, not just between parent and child. I find it interesting.

      Thanks for sharing your views. I found them thought-provoking.

  • 15/05/2014 at 11:36 pm
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    What great pictures and an important reminder to us of our little ones’ points of view – on many levels. Happy weekend!

    • 18/05/2014 at 9:26 pm
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      Thank you Renee,
      Yes we did have a very happy weekend, and I hope you did too. Thank you for stopping by and sharing your thoughts.
      Love,
      Lisa

  • 16/05/2014 at 3:33 am
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    A beautiful reminder. Thank you.

    PS Can you share the butterfly mixture, thinking my butterfly loving little man would like to give it a try 🙂

    • 18/05/2014 at 9:25 pm
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      Yes! Do give it a try and let me know if you have more success than we did. Have a look at my reply to Jen on this comment thread for the details. 🙂

  • 16/05/2014 at 3:47 pm
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    A great reminder- thanks Lisa. And yes, I’d like to know more about the feeders too. Our caterpillars look as though they’re about to go into crysalides at any moment!

    • 18/05/2014 at 9:24 pm
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      I’m envious of your caterpillars. I wish I lived in a house where caterpillars didn’t go AWOL. We still haven’t found three that the 4 year old released back when we tried to raise some…!

      Have a look at my reply to Jen on this comment thread for info about the feeders.

      Thanks as always for stopping by!

  • 16/05/2014 at 8:39 pm
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    What a wonderful reminder–thank you!!! I have found myself getting frustrated lately with my own 4 year old…until I remember that she is ONLY 4 and needs to learn things and act 4. I’ll second the asking for more information about the feeder….she’d loved it! 🙂 (And I need to go get fabric to make my own owl apron!)

    • 18/05/2014 at 9:17 pm
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      Hi Jen,
      The feeders weren’t very successful. 🙁 I watched at the butterflies zoomed past in favour of the delicious flowers in our garden! For what it’s worth, it was a ripe banana, cooked down with 100ml of water and 100g of brown sugar.

      Interestingly, the children don’t seem all that concerned that the feeders went unnoticed by the butterflies! But they did really enjoy making them.

      The admonition that “she’s only 4” is also good for me as a mama too– I say to myself, “I’ve only been parenting him for 4 years. I need more practice!”– rather than beating myself up about the daily mistakes I make.

      Thank you for taking the time to share your experiences,
      Lisa 🙂

  • 19/05/2014 at 10:19 pm
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    What a lovely reminder. Any tips for helping adults to see things from each other’s viewpoints?!

    Best wishes, M x

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