When Steve and I married in 1965, he was considered to be tall at six feet, one inch. Today that’s an ordinary height. Look at the heights of college basketball players, averaging 6′ 7″.
When we first married, mushrooms were such a luxury that we could not afford them. Now we can get a can for 89 cents. In 1965 money, that would have been less than 10 cents, I imagine, since we could, working frugally, buy a week’s groceries for around $10.
Many parents send their children to kindergarten expecting them to demonstrate the brilliance they’ve shown at home. Kindergarten teachers, who have worked with hundreds of five-year-olds, see that child as ordinary or less.
And cultures have different perspectives on many topics. My new friend, Ziyan Zhou, is from China. When we read that at Jesus’ baptism God said, “You are my Son, and I love you. I am very pleased with you,” I asked her if her parents tell her that.
She said, “Very seldom. But they show that they love me.”
“Do they tell you they are pleased with you?”
“No, they never tell me anything like that, but I know they are.”
“How do you know?” I asked.
“Because I hear them telling other people.”
I explained to her that in the United States it is the opposite. At least most of the parents I know tell their children freely that they love them and take every opportunity to praise them for their accomplishments. But telling other people–besides doting relatives–about your children’s achievements is considered bragging.
As our parents aged, they would tell us we were too busy. “You need to slow down,” they would say. “You are doing too much and will wear yourselves out.” We disagreed and pretty much ignored them. Now we see our children doing similar things–jobs, children’s activities, church events, having people over for dinner, FriendSpeak–and we see what our parents saw. I try never to tell them they are doing too much because I know it would make no difference.
A recent Facebook post mentioned a 20-year-old daughter with a comment about “the days that seemed to last forever to the years that now fly by so quickly.” So true! Those long days, and especially nights, with a crying baby seem that they will never end. But they do. I see my children treasuring their time with their children, and I wonder, “Did I do that? Or did I rush through those days too quickly?”
People who suffer from depression may remind themselves: “Some people have cancer, or their children die, or they are hungry and homeless.” They try for perspective, but it doesn’t change their situation.
Most of us, however, can try to see things from the perspective of others. The mother screaming at her difficult children in the grocery store? Who knows what she’s been through that day!
The car careening down the highway, passing every car, going way too fast. They could have a true emergency.
The rude customer buying bread in the convenient store. Maybe his wife just left him, or he lost his job, or he can’t afford nutritious food for his children.
As I think of looking at things from the perspective of other people, I am reminded of the fruits of the Spirit. They don’t mention perspective, of course, but in gaining perspective we might also develop some of those personality characteristics.
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Galatians 5:22-23