Perspective is an important word in many situations. In fact, this could be a much longer post about perspective in teaching this school year. But today’s slice is about a child’s perspective on decorating the family Christmas tree. It can be an analogy for mindfulness – do you fully enjoy one part at a time or strive to make the big picture look right? Insert a six and eight year old in charge of decorating a tree. Perspective.
As we waited for our tree to relax (ha relaxing during the holidays…this could be another analogy) after getting it from our favorite local farm, K and E gleefully dumped out their respective boxes of ornaments they’ve accrued over the years. In the boxes were the yearly ornaments I dutifully and lovingly chose as well as school projects and a few my daughter created on her own. They reminisced, “This was when I was in kindergarten with Mrs. Stanton!”, “Awww this was from when I was a baby”, and so on. Perspective.
At last, the lights were wrapped around our tree and the decorating could commence. K and E took this on as some kind of challenge and began to adorn the branches. Usually I like things to look a certain way (which is something I’m working on!) but I was taken aback by how much more grown up they were this year than last. They were climbing furniture to access some top branches, standing back to admire their work, and enjoying themselves. Perspective.
Have you ever crouched down and looked at a Christmas tree up close but from 3 feet off the ground like you’re copying a child’s height? It doesn’t matter how evenly spaced the ornaments are on the top…because you can’t even see up that high! It doesn’t matter if there’s a large clump or ornaments on the bottom branch because you can’t really see that either. You see what’s right in front of your face. It was in that moment of rescuing yet another fallen Santa or snowflake victim that I looked up and laughed to myself for having tried to control the tree from my perspective in years past.
At some point, decorations began to fall off the tree as Fraser Firs have fragrant boughs but they struggle to withstand multiple heavy ornaments. Eventually the last ornaments were placed and the kids stood back to admire their work. “It looks beautiful, Mommy!” And yes, it surely did. What’s the point of our family tree if I take over and make it look Pinterest-perfect to me? It is perfect. It is perfect because the tradition is WE decorate and K and E feel pride in their hard work. And from their perspective – and mine – it is perfect.