An Empowering Perspective:
It can decide your future!
The empowering perspective conversation sprang from an English comprehension test paper.
It was one of those gentle chats that changes into an in-depth age-equalising talk between a grandfather and grandson.
Josh has a ten-and-a-half year old body, an intellect that seems a little older, a social conscience and integrity seemingly older still, and a soul that I suspect is bordering on ancient. But then I would say that; he's my grandson.
Introduction - Long story short:
Josh is approaching going up to the next level of UK school. He has visited and viewed the potential schools, checked their results record, discussed with his parents and grandparents, and chosen the most prestigious school in the area. It goes against the general direction of where his school friends expect to go. He says that he will miss some of them, but his real friends will stay in touch, but this is important - it's about getting his life right. Like I say, he's a bit older than his ten-and-a-half years. Wanting to impress during the application procedure, he has asked for extra lessons in Maths and English.
On with the tale:
The English comprehension paper was an extracted article from the Guardian newspaper. It discussed the concepts and misconceptions surrounding children being raised by parents who are totally blind. (Is it politically correct to say that these days? If you are more comfortable with 'visually challenged' then please read it that way without any slight or offence being intended, but in the finally analysis I'm talking about parents who are unable to see at all.)
Toward the end of the article, the author, Julie Reid, relates a conversation with her mother Etta about never having seen her children or grandchildren. She calls her mother's response an empowering perspective, and hence, Josh and I discussed what an empowering perspective means.
In case you're wondering, here's what the article said:
|But when we discuss this, my parents give me their own empowering perspective.|
"I'd like to have seen you but I don't think it's as important as people think," says Etta. "I think seeing is so primitive. Even a dog and a cat can see. Knowing a personality and knowing how you speak and what you say and how you say it, I think that's more important than how people look. I don't think seeing is knowing."
I tend to agree that it's an empowering perspective.
Did Josh understand an 'empowering perspective'?:
Anyway, Josh and I discussed what empowering means. We discussed what perspective means. We discussed different perspectives depending on how we felt and how we thought.
I thought it was time to bring Albert Einstein into our conversation and related the following tale (although briefer than related here):
|A reporter approached the famous scientist and asked; |
"Dr. Einstein, you are recognized around the world as one of the most bone fide geniuses of our century, maybe of human history. Your scope of thinking has covered the workings of the universe from the tiny atom to the cosmos. You have seen your discoveries both evolve and enrich, and also mutilate and destroy the human life you so highly value. What, in your opinion is the most important question facing humanity today?"
Characteristically, Einstein stared off into space for a moment, and then looked down at the ground in front of him. Finally he looked back at the reporter and replied, "I think the most important question facing humanity is, ‘Is the universe a friendly place?’ This is the first and most basic question all people must answer for themselves.
"If we decide that the universe is an unfriendly place, then we will use our technology, our scientific discoveries and our natural resources to achieve safety and power by creating bigger walls to keep out the unfriendliness and bigger weapons to destroy all that which is unfriendly—and I believe that we are getting to a place where technology is powerful enough that we may either completely isolate or destroy ourselves as well in this process.
"If we decide that the universe is neither friendly nor unfriendly and that God is essentially ‘playing dice with the universe’, then we are simply victims to the random toss of the dice and our lives have no real purpose or meaning.
"But if we decide that the universe is a friendly place, then we will use our technology, our scientific discoveries and our natural resources to create tools and models for understanding that universe. Because power and safety will come through understanding its workings and its motives."
"What do you think about the universe Josh?" I asked. "Is it a friendly place or not?"
Empowering perspective - out of the mouth of babes:
Somewhat reminiscent of Einstein, Josh looked off into space for a while, and then answered:
"I don't know about the whole universe, but the world can be a scary place. I mean, there's like wars in places like Afghanistan, and there's terrorists, and there's pirates in Africa and there's lots of poisonous creatures in Australia.
"But I think if you're friendly first, even if your scared, the world is friendly back to you."
I got the impression that he understood the concept of 'empowering perspective'.
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