Monday, April 27, 2015

                                                
LEGACY OF A LENS

     As an aspiring competitive motivational speaker, I decided to practice this topic on my blog. If you like the concept and think it would be a potential winning speech topic, please e-mail me. 

     Have you ever thought about the lens you inherited? When babies are born, they don’t see clearly at first. As they grow, the lens through which they learn to see the world comes first from their family of origin (I refer to this as FOO).  Families come in all sizes and shapes. Not all families have two parents, and many have numerous children or perhaps only one. Regardless, as a baby grows into a toddler, then into his first pair of sneakers followed by a pair of dress shoes, stilettos, Birkenstocks, flip flops or UGGS, he or she begins to get a view of the world which ultimately shapes his or her point of view. Most influential are the mother and father, of course, followed by siblings, extended family and then school mates, teachers, friends, acquaintances, etc. Think for a moment what kind of lens you inherited and whether the lens you had at 3, 7, 12, 18, 25 and later has changed. If it has, what changed it. If it hasn’t, is that good?

     I suggest that as parents we think about the kind of lens we would like our children to inherit. It’s too late for me. I’m a grandmother, so whatever good or bad view I passed down has already done its damage or had its rewards. As a daughter of two hyper-critical, type-A Greatest Generation parents, my lens was much different than the one I passed on to my own children. Without going into detail about the pros and cons of how I learned to “see,” let it suffice to say that I enjoy the wonderful and not so wonderful view of my world every day. 

     If your children are over ten, think about how you have influenced their view of the world. Are you happy about it? Do you wish you could have considered this question when the kid was in the womb, or are you happy with what you see your children seeing? 

     As I look at my own two grown daughters, I see them compassionately caring about others. Maybe it was because we took food and clothing to a needy family every holiday when they were toddlers. I see them both in professions helping others and teaching. Maybe it was because I was a teacher, and I loved watching my students grow and helping those who couldn’t “see” their own worth. They are both devoted moms. Maybe it was because I wasn’t as devoted as I should have been. They are both very family-oriented. Maybe that’s because family was important in our house. One is a huge risk-taker, and the other is very grounded and practical. Maybe it’s because I have and always will be a huge risk taker, and their father was grounded and practical. Maybe neither their father nor I had anything to do with this, and some mystical power shaped their lens. Who knows? The point is that, as parents, we have an opportunity to give sight to so many wonderful things, thoughts, experiences, feelings, and we need to use that privilege carefully and responsibly. It’s easy to “see” our mistakes years later; it’s better to prevent them years before.


     Think about how you want your children to “see” the world. Pat yourself on the back if you’re happy with your job so far. If you’ve messed up like me, it’s not too late to enlighten--just harder to put it into context so it doesn’t sound like you’re lecturing, criticizing or apologizing. Food for thought, and maybe a good universal speech topic. Whadayouthink?