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Monday, August 8, 2011



Perspective is a way of looking at things and generally, we all see what we see from our point of view. But should we? In some cases yes but in others a definite no. If you  were to look at a vase of flowers and I was looking at it too both of us would say that we both saw it. But if someone asked you or me to describe it, we might have different answers. You might say that it's a vase with pretty flowers.  But I might say it's a vase with some very beautiful red flowers. Someone else might say that it is a vase and I don't like those flowers at all.

As a former teacher, I have seen so much perspective from my students regarding so many things. The main point I was trying to get across in many cases was to focus on one specific part of what I was teaching--as do all teachers! But all students are individuals and all saw things differently. I did when I was a kid always and yet got to the same conclusion but in a roundabout way.

I will never forget meeting a very famous math expert: He traveled all over the United States talking with groups of teachers. Here I was with a huge mass of teachers and listening to him speak about teaching math and the most important thing he said was "It doesn't matter how you get the answer as long as it's the right answer." Profound words that I never forgot and remembered to tell my students.

That statement could apply to anything we perceive for if you are asked for an answer and it's set in stone, your way of thinking would be right --if the answer were right. As stated above, it you were looking at that vase of flowers and asked what you saw, you'd have to answer "a vase of flowers." But your description or mine would be so different and why? Because we use what we have stored in our minds to perceive things.
We associate what we know in terms of looking at something and judge it by that--why? Because we are human beings. And there really is no right answer about those flowers at all.

You and I might be talking about mushrooms and I might hear you talk about how much you loved them and so on. But I can tell you right now that the first thought in my mind would be that I hate them and then I would proceed to tell you that. Right here is the most important thing about perspective: If I really said that I might hurt your feelings right then and there. Even though I think that I might not say it and that is why perspective is so important and has so many layers. Many.

Takes a lot of patience on your part and mine sometimes to keep our perspectives to ourselves when asked about something. Another case in point is that there is a person [whom I know] who reads what I write and yet will not converse with me at all in written form even though the opportunity is always there. From my perspective, I find that not only strange but odd. That is just my take on it.  But maybe from that person's perspective maybe it's a compliment for me to know that it is being read--just that and nothing more. Not dwelling upon it but just wanted to point out another form of dealing with perspective--it's all in what is perceived. But watch out for those many layers; I certainly do. There is a fine line between being right and being nice--a very fine line. And should you cross it, you might wind up being mistaken with no going back.

To me perspective is judgement. Don't you think so?

Sherry Hill

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