My middle child (8 years old) lives in his own world, a world that is much more fun and exciting and downright thrilling than the world most of the rest of us live in. My world operates on a schedule and is filled with tasks. I do enjoy visiting his creative world and it’s quite easy for me to travel back and forth quickly. But he hates coming into my world and it’s very difficult for him to get here. It’s as if his left foot (controlled by the right, creative side of his brain) is deeply rooted in his world, making it rarely possible for him to be fully present here.
This morning he was supposed to go get socks out of his bedroom before sitting down for breakfast. He never returned so, as is our usual, I went to find him. When I approached his doorway, I found him curled up on his knees with his butt in the air and the left side of his face pressed into the carpet. He was looking at his brother’s sock which had been left on the floor. When I entered his room, he said excitedly, “Mom! It looks like a rock!” He had been there, right at the level of the scene before him, for several minutes admiring how the sock which was folded over itself with its heel pushed upward looked a little bit like the Rock of Gibraltar.
After agreeing that the sock looked like a rock, I told him six more times to get a pair of socks on and went back out into the kitchen to find my half-dressed 12-yr-old son laying on his back on the laundry room floor. He was holding a snow boot in the air above his head. Completely unaware of what had just happened with his little brother he said to me, “It looks like a karate belt!” Completely amused and wondering if I was in the Twilight Zone, I laughed and said, “You guys are incredibly perceptual this morning! What on earth are you looking at?” He said again, “On the bottom of this boot… It looks like a martial arts belt tied around someone’s waist.” Totally hooked, I went over and asked him to show me. Sure enough, the tread on the boot looked just like a row of little martial arts belts tied around invisible waists.
Normally, these distractions are incredibly annoying because they hold up our routine and make me late for work. Every. Single. Day. But today, I thought back to a TED Talk I recently watched. I realized that while there is a need to use our left hemisphere to make things happen, to survive, it’s so incredibly important to tap into that right side and recognize the beauty around us.
Truly, perception is reality. I perceive we are going to be late if we keep stopping to act out every scene pouring from my son’s steadily rolling imagination. My son perceives the world around him as interactive and beautiful and exciting and fun and plays this catalog of information on a loop of film in his mind.
If we could just meet more often somewhere in the middle…