Saturday, May 14, 2011

Peeking at the Eye Chart

A few days ago I went for my annual eye doctor visit.  The nurse had me look through machines that took pictures of my retina, scanned the cornea, and flashed lights for me to watch.  Then we came to the electronic version of the traditional eye chart.  Without my contacts, I didn't recognize the big E at first.  I am thankful for eye doctors!

As the nurse had me read different letters with one eye at a time, she told me that children often peek with both eyes so they can tell her the right letter.  They are more interested in getting the answer right than following her directions.  Their attempts to "cheat" were often humorous and she was on top of it.

These children had learned that getting the "right" answer is most important.  And, they will break the rules to get there.

This happens with children in school.  Many just want to get the "right" answer, get the grade, and move on without the deeper values gained from applying themselves.  Real learning with deep benefit takes more time and work than just coming up with the right multiple choice letter for the current quiz.  The hard work of growing that leads to real success is shorted by the student who just tries to get the right answer down.

Somewhere along the way the growing process has given way to the shortcut.  Its true in education.  Its also true in things like relationships and business.  This tendency has been around along time.  The Pharisees did it.  Here is part of a parable Jesus told in Luke 18:

"The Pharisee stood and was praying this to himself: God, I thank you that I am not like other people:  swindlers, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector.  I fast twice a week; I pay tithes of all that I get"

The Pharisee missed the point.  He created a little grade card and gave himself A's for fasting and tithes.  He thought he was righteous ("right"!).  Jesus said that the Pharisee would not be justified because "everyone who exalts himself will be humbled."  It isn't about getting the grade, its about what happens deeply inside.

There is pain and pleasure in the growing process.  A braveheart has the courage to go through the process of hard work, risk taking, and perseverance, strengthening himself and laying the foundation for life time success.  Shortcuts don't work for becoming strong.

I worked in my yard last weekend for about four hours.  I got carried away pulling weeds, trimming hedges, fertilizing, and watering.  I was tired and sore.  But, I also felt great from the exercise and looked with pleasure on the work of my hands.  Because I took the time, I gained not only physically but in my joy.  While I could have paid someone to do the yard, my investment in the process helped me become stronger and brought me both pain and pleasure.  If I had paid to have it done, I would have examined the work to make sure it was done right, but I would not have gained in myself like I did through my investment in the work.

Bravehearts need to know that shortcuts usually don't help them in the long run.  Perseverance, tenacity, hard work, and investment produce growth and success.  Not finding the fastest way to get it right and move on.  Growing and real impact requires dedication and commitment, something a braveheart understands.

How can we help our children avoid the tendency to just get it done any way possible?  And, to learn the pleasure of a hard job well done, growing through the process?

As in most things, we can begin by being a good example.  What shortcuts do I take to get the checklist done, but give me superficial results without lasting impact or value?  Do we have places where we are expedient instead of investing?  How can I be an example of perseverance in work and relationships to create lasting value?  Example is always our first step.

Then this.  Work with your child.  If you are going to rake the leaves, have her help.  Have her learn that the process can be joyful and rich even if it is long and hard.  Have her fell the pain, but have her rejoice in the job well done and create memories of spending time together on a project.

I used to do house projects a lot, often so that the kids would learn that they can do things themselves.  I wanted them to learn that everything doesn't have to be paid for and that they can tackle all kinds of needs.  I invited them into the process.  Was it slower and sloppier having them help paint the bedroom wall?  I am sure you know the answer.  But, they learned.

Invite your children in the real world of work, without shortcuts.  Have them help garden, paint, wash the car, help with taxes.  And, do them together so you can teach, build relationship, and they can learn the joy of the process and the pleasure and gain of work well done. 

A good example.  Work together.  Great memories.  Powerful lessons.  It takes time and work on our part, but as in any process, the invested time and work in our children pays rich dividends, accompanied by some pain along the way and the pleasure of a job well done as you see them become bravehearts.

1 comment:

  1. Read this --> its about different types of eye chart. this may give you an idea when you go to an ophthalmologist.