We make assumptions, and believe we are right about the assumptions; then we defend our assumptions and try to make someone else wrong – Don Miguel Ruiz
I sat at the movies on Sunday morning. With one baby on my lap, my other to my left and my husband on my right. We were all a little weary after daylight savings gave us a whole hour extra to play with. Truth be told I would have preferred one less so that bedtime rolled around sooner.
The man to the left of us, with his son to his right, read something on his Ipad throughout the movie – the soft light beamed from his screen creating strange little shadows across his large beard and serious face. The first thing I did was nudge my husband, gesture with my eyes and head in his direction and roll my eyes. ‘Bloody connected parents’ I thought ‘would it kill you to snuggle up and watch a movie for 90 minutes without connecting to the online world?.’
I rationalised that it was in a total other realm of connection than my own desire to quickly post a pic to instagram when the kids sat down; lamenting at my parental exhausation for others to agree with…
I had a boss a million moons ago. I met her before I became a parent. She wore knee hi’s under her work pants. Some days they would lose their elasticity and begin to roll down, I always peered out from my office – that was also a storage cupboard, true public service story – to make sure she wasn’t bustling past. Caution paid off as I was never knocked over by her. She was juggling a lot – two kids, a sick husband, an elderly mum that needed care. Each time the school holidays rolled around she’d laugh at the movies her kids had made her see. She’d tell us how she’d take her itty bitty book light and read the piles of novels that she never had the time to read.
That her kids knew she was there with them, but also taking care of herself at the same time.
As a social worker most of my careers worth of work has been balanced precariously on the acknowledgement of assumptions and then the setting aside of them. The delicate balance to meet a person who looks like the 99 people that came before them but to be cautious in ideas of responding to their needs because they might be lucky 100.
They may need something entirely different and if I wasn’t open to it, I might miss it.
When we take on new roles in our lifetime – as partners, as parents, as carers, as new employees – our view of the world shifts. We look on our experiences, and the way others present theres – with different eyes. The movie I watched with my kids had the same twists and turns of any childhood movie – a family travelling OK, a new person who shifts their perceptions, a challenge, a battle and then an agreement of truth – that they were right to begin with.
Truth is I dont know why that dude had to read his Ipad while we watched the movie but the other truth is this. What he did didn’t impact on me, I didnt know what load he was carrying and while we catch ourselves eye rolling, or sighing, or tut-tutting we live with a very narrow view of the world.
So I sat back, focussed on my stuff and let the other stuff go.
Do you live more in the black and white than the space in between?