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