When a child settles in for yet another coloring book session, he doesn’t just pick a Crayola out of the box on a whim, he chooses his favorite hue with deep thought. He has a plan, and more than that, he has a vision. The same holds true for everyone who has a task to complete. Everything we do is a means to and end. I think we all know what end we are trying to achieve, we just get lost in the process. We are not always as clear headed as the child who already knows what color of crayon he wants first. Unfortunately, simplicity seems to evaporate with youth, leaving us with a feeling of helplessness when trying to find our individual ends.
The way we view our world is the result of a lifetime of varied exposure to different people and media influences. For example, if we read an article in the newspaper, or online, we may have a preconceived opinion before we even read it, just based on the newspaper itself, or by merely reading the authors name. If given the same article on a generic white sheet of paper, no names, just the article, we may come away with a different opinion of the material, because the information needed to change or sway our feelings from the start were omitted.
When emotion gets in the way of intellect, more often than not, we miss the moral of the story. We read the words, but they are blurred by our own preconceived notions of the source. When I read, no matter what the reading material is, I try to only see the world from my vantage point, ignoring where the author may, or may not be viewing it from. I only consider the authors vantage point when I disagree with what I have read. Then, and only then, do I seek out a logical reason for the conflict in opinion. If I try to find the authors vantage point in advance, ignoring my own, I will never allow myself to absorb what I am trying to read and learn about.
The child coloring sees the world from one vantage point, the syndicated columnist sees it from another, and I from yet another. If the child colors the sky green and the leaves blue, it is not up to me to assume the child is dumb or color blind. It is up to me to figure out what it is he is trying to say through his choice of colors. As a child, he might be saying he wishes the sky were green and the leaves on the trees were blue, or he might just be saying that he enjoys the power of choice, as well as the freedom to color the picture without ridicule from others. He may also be saying that he feels safe and secure, unafraid to go against the grain. Right or wrong, he is viewing the world from his own perch. Children are innocent and adventurous, so their vantage point requires little explanation if any. Adults however, can be dangerous, and fall into a totally different category.
My vantage point is one of looking back. I see the world through the eyes of a young child with hopes of a bright future, and through the eyes of a man still looking for the same. I see a world, only in my memories, that no longer exists, and I no longer see that world returning. I see my own son with his box of crayons, coloring the sky red, the trees red, and the water red. I think it is a tragedy that we both view the same world from the same vantage point. I think it is even a bigger tragedy when a ten year old boy can see the lines drawn in the sand without it being pointed out to him. Like a dog in a storm, he is ready to seek shelter without following my lead. He can just feel it in the air.
Blue and green holds no true meaning in the scheme of things, but the color red is reason enough for us all to take notice. Reason enough for us all to examine every angle, every word, every expression, and the vantage points of all concerned. We need to overdose on the information available to us, so our children can once again chase a dream with the genuine hope of it coming true.
My vantage point has gone from one of confidence in mankind, to one of skepticism in just two years time. For the first time in my life I have learned how to see where others are coming from, and the world is coming into focus. Truth be known, I miss the blur.