Rochel Burstyn: Black & White Glasses
One delightful thing about kids is that the way they view the world can be so refreshingly simple. No shades of maybe, perhaps or uncertainty, just clear-cut black and white.
Once, my then 6-year-old Avi returned from a bike ride around the neighborhood and told me he’d seen Jeremy. Now, Jeremy’s someone I barely know, someone my husband barely knows. I stared at Avi for a moment, trying to work out when Avi had met him and in which context. Finally, I asked, “Wait a second. How do you know Jeremy?”
His answer was slow and deliberate: “By his face.” (Duh, Mom! How do you know anyone?)
So, OK, with kids you’ve got to be really specific.
Another example: It was that calm, serene and loving time that is homework hour, and my fantastic daughter Raizel approached me, stuck out a sheaf of stapled papers and a pen and asked me to sign her test. I took the pen and said, “I don’t think you realize, Raizel, but I can’t actually see the grade because your thumb is right …”
Before I could finish my sentence, she’d snapped, “So what? My teacher said you just need to sign my test; she didn’t say I had to show you my grade.”
Well. There’s no arguing with that, is there?
Recently I was having my glasses adjusted by the young, rather nice-looking man behind the counter at the glasses store. He fiddled a little while I squinted around unseeingly until he handed them back to me. I slid the glasses on my nose and stared at him expectantly while he looked at me carefully this way and that before he shook his head and stuck out his hand. I handed my glasses back for a little more adjusting. A few moments later, he again handed them back. I slid the glasses on, and this time, as the young chickadee gazed deeply into my eyes, a smile spread over his face and he declared with conviction, “Perfect!”
It was a shining moment; after my rather heartfelt thanks, I left that store with quite the spring in my step. (Did I mention he was young? Did I mention he was good-looking? And he’s evidently extremely clever and perceptive, too!)
I figured there are benefits to seeing the world in such a clear-cut way sometimes. Out with the cynical shades, out with the rose-tints — long live black and white!
Funny how it all seems to stem down to seeing and glasses. (After all, if you can’t see, you probably need glasses …)
Are you seeing the world in a rose-tinted way? Is the glass half-full or
half-empty? Is the indecision (“Half-full … half-empty … no, half-full …”) making you glassy-eyed?
I figure everything has its place — there are clear-as-glass benefits to viewing the world through those rose-tints, but then even cynicism might have its place, and interpreting things as simply black and white can have its benefits, too.
Speaking of glasses, if your house has been constructed out of it, as the saying goes — don’t throw stones. And the black-and-white, clear-cut understanding that goes along with it is please, change your clothes in the basement.