Perception is a wonderful lesson for children of all ages. It is so helpful to teach them to step back and consider different points of view. We want to raise kind compassionate children and teaching them the skill of looking from various perspectives is a great way to start. My daughter and I first began talking more deeply (past simple sharing) about perception in preschool when she was dealing with what seemed to her like a mean little girl. We discussed the other possible options or reasons why it may seem like she is being “mean” and tried embrace other scenarios, etc. We tried to put ourselves in her shoes and see things from her eyes. It helped. In the end, they became friends. These conversations continued throughout the years. It also helped me teach her to try not to take things personally and to always look for the good in others because it is always there.
Perception can open up so many things in life and you can take the lessons as far as you are willing to open up your mind. You can start with simply seeing things from another view-point and take it all the way to the ultimate illusions in life that we all experience. Ultimately, perception can lead you to constant peace. For children, just introducing and discussing the concept can free them from a lot of heartache that would stem from judging others and insisting they are right, etc. Some of these concepts may go over their head at first, but not for long. I figure it’s like songs written in consciousness, at first they just seem like catchy tunes and then as you change over time you hear the profound wisdom within and it’s like being hit over the head (I remember singing Imagine along with the radio one day and finally hearing the words I had memorized long before, I had to pull my car over I was so awestruck and thrilled to finally understand what was being said). I figure someday they will have a moment where it clicks and they will say, “Wow, that is what my parents were talking about.” Sometimes they surprise me and say something so profound I am sure they remember where they came from. I often wish I was as present as my son, so I am sure we are learning from each other.
My daughter and I have continued these conversations about perception over the years to help her embrace her compassion and willingness to see things from various points of view. We are a homeschooling family so we can spend a lot of time on subjects that interest us, it’s just one of the many perks. We have a lovely assignment we would like to share. This year we saw Wicked at the theatre and knew immediately we could make a great perception assignment out of it. My daughter already knew Wizard of Oz very well, she had seen the movie several times and played Oz in her children’s theatre production. Once we saw Wicked, it opened up an entirely different viewpoint of the story. We loved it and we spent a lot of time on her related essay about perception. Her essay is below. She was seven years old when she wrote it. We spent a lot of time having editing meetings and getting to this final draft. Another home school perk we enjoy is learning through editing and editing until we get to her personal best version. From a seven-year old point of view, it is just precious. It is a great lesson for us all.
Please enjoy the essay below on perception from my kind and compassionate daughter. I had to include this adorable title sheet she created.
People see situations in different ways. Perception means how you see things. This paper is all about how you look at things. The Wizard of Oz and Wicked are great examples of ways we can perceive things differently. My fright of the Wicked Witch of the West in Wizard of Oz was equally matched by my love for her in Wicked.
The Wicked Witch in the Wizard of Oz was so scary. The Munchkins were terrified of her. They were so scared that every time the Wicked Witch came they would hide from her. She always had this funny and terrifying laugh. Whenever she saw Dorothy she would say, “I’ll get you my pretty,” and then laugh afterwards. The Wicked Witch wanted to kill Dorothy and her friends Scarecrow, Lion and Tin Man. She really wanted the ruby slippers badly and she would do anything to get them. She was completely terrifying and I felt so relieved when Dorothy melted her!
In Wicked, the Wicked Witch of the West was loveable! Her name was really Elphaba. She was born green and everyone was mean to her. She was smart. She took good care of her crippled sister Nessa. She wanted to help the animals. She tried to do good things but they did not go well for her. She was totally tricked by the Wizard of Oz and everyone thought she was bad even though she was good. She just wanted those ruby slippers to remember her sister.
In the Wizard of Oz I was so scared of the Wicked Witch of the West but in Wicked I loved her. In the Wizard of Oz the story was told from Dorothy’s perception, it made you see things how she did. In Wicked, the story was told from Elphaba’s perception, throughout the whole show you see her side of the story. The way these stories were told from the perception of different characters made it possible to equally fear the Wicked Witch in one story and love her in the other.
My fright of the Wicked Witch of the west in Wizard of Oz was equally matched by my love for her in Wicked. In both shows there was a different way of looking at things. This is what perception is all about. In all things in life people have a different perceptions of things. This explains why people make different choices. Understanding people’s perceptions can lead us to kindness and compassion. I want to always remember that people have different perceptions because kindness and compassion are the most important thing in life!