different perspectives

Teaching Your Child to See Life from Different Perspectives

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When my son Andrew was in the tenth grade, he came home with a math assignment that changed the way he looked at the world. “Get out of your house with a camera and photograph two or more examples of at least five three-dimensional geometric shapes.” The list included spheres, pyramids, cubes, rectangular prisms, triangular prisms, cones, and cylinders.

Andrew asked me to drive into downtown Tampa with him and we had a great father-son experience. He found himself caught up in the exercise and started photographing much more than his assignment. All of a sudden my son was looking at the world through a lens, as an observer rather than the center of the action, and it marked the beginnings of a huge shift in his outlook. He started looking at life from different perspectives.

I can trace his interest in missions, in helping others, in self-directed learning, and in world travel to that moment in downtown Tampa when his point of view took a dramatic step out of his own constricted, self-centered, teenaged orientation. Take the time to teach your child to see life from all angles—then watch in wonder as they learn, and relearn, how to see. [Tweet This]

Take a photography class.

Learn the meaning of terms such as perspective, point of view, exposure, aperture, and light then talk about how the way we look at the world around us affects our opinions and our judgments.

Live with a self-imposed challenge.

Go through all your activities for a day using only one arm. Or, live as a family for a week on five dollars a day. Or, attend an event downtown using only public transportation.

Hang out with people who make you uncomfortable and learn their stories.

Gather stories as a family, then all give reports on what you learned. Maybe interview a homeless person with your child. Have your teen eat lunch all week with a student of another race or one who is bullied. Help your child prepare questions to ask.

Participate (together) in a mission trip to another culture (either domestically or abroad).

Exposure to other cultures is life changing. Doing it in the context of helping can be transformational.

Huddle up with your kids and ask, “Who is one kid that is completely different from you and why do you think that?”