I was sitting at my computer one morning last week when my seven-year-old slipped up and gently tugged on my elbow. I glanced up to see the pajamaed little elf’s dishwater blond waves in definite bed-head disarray. Her sleepy grin showed teeth in various stages of “growing in.” When she said, “Mommy,” I knew that her next words would surely be, “What can I have for breakfast?” I returned to my typing, and waited for the words to come. She continued, “Mommy, I kind of like the view from my window.” That got my attention. I stopped my typing and turned to look into her sky blue eyes which were now grinning in unison with her mouth. They told me she was serious, and this intrigued me. I know the view from her window – it looks straight into an upper window of the vacant house next door. She likes that view? I couldn’t help but question this, so I did, “Doesn’t your window look at the house next door?”
“No, Mommy… if you look back between the houses you can see the mountains and the clouds and all. I think it’s really pretty.”
I wouldn’t have blamed her for being a little flustered with my narrow adult reasoning, but her response was full of patience. It made me think. Leave it to a seven-year-old to figure out that sometimes one must make some effort to see the beauty in something.
I was all the more amazed that my child had this perspective when I remembered the response that I got from some of my teenage co-op students a few days before, when I asked them what they thought of the presidential inauguration. The most loudly voiced opinions all agreed, “He messed up!”
It was a response that stunned and disappointed me. Hadn’t they noticed our beautiful capitol building, gloriously decked out in our patriot colors? Wasn’t the peaceful transfer of power something to appreciate? How about the bubbling throng of people, assembled – again peacefully – and mostly enthusiastically? And what about that amazing prayer by Rev. Warren? Were they so easily swayed to discount the good in our American process because they might disagree with the one now leading the process? The thing that most impressed them was that “he messed up?” I wonder: am I partly to blame for their negative attitude? Have I had a part in fostering a critical spirit in them? Have I not done my part to encourage them to look for the “good” in things?
I need to be careful with that seven-year-old.