Monday, July 19, 2010

It's All a matter of Perspective

Mom peeking in the rear view mirror: "Sophie, are you sleeping?"
Sophie: "No, I'm just resting my eyelids."

My parents live 800 miles north of us in a west suburb of the ever-expanding shadow of Chicago. On trips like that, or even on the 4-hour trip to my in-laws house we pray that Sophie will sleep....a LOT. It saves a lot of pain all around. When she's awake and stuck in the car for long periods of time she can get.....fussy. When she's fussy, we suffer.

In truth, even when she's awake and bubbling with joy and goodwill, her curious mind lets loose an endless stream of questions, comments and observations to which she requires an answer or comment to every one. After an hour or two, it can be a little tiring, especially if you're someone who relishes peace, quiet and silent reflection.

On the flip side, when we take shorter trips, like to our zoo which is an hour away, the last thing we want on the drive home is for Sophie to fall asleep and take her nap in the car. If she does that, we're robbed of a couple of hours of getting things done around the house once we get home. Those short car power naps are all that it takes to recharge her batteries and energize her for the rest of the day. So we are constantly making sure that she doesn't fall asleep by talking to her, tickling her, giving her food; whatever it takes.

The day she gave this response to our attempt to keep her awake was the day we realized that we'd hit another milestone; one that would require us to stay on our toes even more than before. We have a politician on our hands. She's three years old (at the time) and she knows how to spin.

I think that being able to spin  a situation or statement is an incredible art form. It amazes me that I can read a piece on Fox News' site, go over to MSNBC and see the same situation described in an entirely different way, with an opposite conclusion; both sounding very plausible.

Perspective is merely spin to your advantage. Unfortunately, it's not always honest. While I applaud our daughter's ability to use her creative mind to quickly come up such a witty response, she'll need to learn and heed the point at which spinning passes simply sharing her perspective and becomes lying.

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