When my son came home from college last weekend and showed me his latest architectural project, I was pretty impressed. I studied the design. I closely looked at the detail. I thought the color, the style, the whole concept was unique and interesting (and I told him so).
I thought I fully appreciated his work.
After letting me gaze at his model for a bit longer, my son then asked me if I “got it“? Meaning, did I understand the principles he utilized in creating this particular structure…honestly, I didn’t.
So he began explaining why he designed each section of this structure and what it signified. Further, he told me how I should feel if I were a miniature person entering at one end of the building and walked through to the other. There was intention in every step.
I was impressed before he started giving me a lecture (I mean who has the patience or the manual dexterity to exactly position each of these tiny pieces of wood?) Not me.
He also told me how long it took to create (about 100 hours) and how much the materials cost (about 150.00 dollars)…as I mentally weighed the cost, the value of this project suddenly edged up even farther in my mind.
At first, I believed I understood the value of my son’s work but once he started walking me through the paces of how he created it, everything about his structure meant more.
Funny thing is that he recognized from the get-go that I wasn’t “getting it” at least not as fully as I might have…thus, his lesson for fully “fleshing out” the thought behind each intentional piece.
I took another long look at his work (and haven’t stopped) since he brought it home. A few times I was even reminded of a movie I watched many years ago where the main character who had literally lost part of his face in a car accident said, “If this is all you see (referring to his now disfigured face), then you don’t see me.”
I’ve thought about that statement (and my hasty assumption about my son’s project) a number of times and it’s challenged me to take several actionable steps of my own.
If I’m truly serious about “seeing” people, places, things as they truly are, I need to:
Slow down with intention.
Look around with the awareness only children (or the elderly) seem to possess.
See to understand what’s behind the obvious.
Find value in the process (and repeat).
Seeing, really seeing, like truly listening, takes an outlay of time and effort…but the paybacks are enduringly eye-opening.