From Pam Rohr, author of Blended but not Broken – Hope and Encouragement for Blended Families:
Let’s talk about perspectives today, what is perspective and how does it influence our attitudes and decisions. Is the glass half full or half empty, it boils down to your perspective.
To quote Rick Riordan:
“Humans see what they want to see.”
I recently heard of a study that really explains the importance of perspective. In the experiment, children were divided into two groups. The parents of both groups were told their kids would be going to a party. The first group of parents was told that their children would be fed foods high in sugar, lots of cake, candy and sodas. The parents of the second group were told their children would be eating healthy foods such as fruits and vegetables, they would not be eating foods high in sugar content. The children were not allowed to share with their parents what they had eaten while they were at the party. In reality, the first group of kids ate healthy while the second group of kid’s was given the high sugar foods. So it was the opposite of what the parents had been told.
The parents were asked to observe their kids behavior after returning from the party. The first group of parents said their kids were hyper, moody and had short attention spans. The second group, whose kids really did have the sugar, said their children were well behaved after returning from the party.
Each set of parents got what they were looking for; if they expected their child to be hyper because they were told they would have a lot of sugar, they saw that behavior. But if they expected their child to behave well because they were eating so healthy, that’s what the parents observed!
One definition in Webster’s for perspective is:
A particular attitude toward something or someone or way of regarding something, a point of view.
The expectations of the parents dictated what they saw in their child. So let’s put this in perspective of blended families. Your perspective can damage or deepen your relationships. If you look for the negative in others, you will certainly find ‘evidence’ of it. If you take time to look for and identify the positive in those around you, you’ll find this as well. We usually find what we are looking for.
What do you see when you look at your stepchild? Is your stepchild difficult, rude and defiant? Or could he be hurting, insecure or feeling lost? Maybe you can be the rope that keeps them from drowning. We are all broken people needing a lot of grace and at times help. None of us have arrived, and as adults, if we haven’t arrived, what makes us think our kids should have arrived? Look for the good that is there, it may be hard to find, but maybe your stepchild just needs someone to believe in them. Our kids are growing up in a very scary and difficult world; let’s make our homes a safe haven for them. Let’s tune our perspectives to look for the good.
Today, seek and respond to the positive behavior and empathize with reasons behind the negative. Obviously, I’m not saying let them get away with stuff. That won’t help them. But if you are always on them about something, take a break. Maybe you are expecting to be on them about something so you are, are you expecting to find something wrong?
To quote Stephen R. Covey, author of The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People:
“To change ourselves effectively, we first have to change our perceptions.”
So to bring a change in a relationship or an attitude, we will have to change the way we look at people and situations.
Let us press on to perceive each other through the eyes of God and my we “get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ, God forgave you.” Ephesians 4: 31,32