Seeing things for what they are



Through the Eyes of Children
There have been a number of books about vision and how particularly perceptive people actually see the world. One book, "The World Through Blunted Sight", gave examples of painters who had particular vision issues - myopia, bad peripheral vision, color blindness, strabismus, that type of thing - and how those vision problems manifested in paintings. 

Actually until there were ways to measure and explore vision in what is known as neuro-ophthalmology, there were some fairly thought provoking theories about how people see and what they see when they do. For instance, for a child to see a balloon and recognize it as such takes some reinforcement - generally an adult seeing a balloon and calling it that over and over until the kid sees that shape or thing and associates the label "balloon".  Left on their own, kids would probably come up with some other name for a balloon.  It is when the color - blue for instance - is tacked onto the balloon that this entire neuro-vision  thing comes into play.

A certain small percentage of people can't see blue the way the rest of us see it. They see some other color. That "other color" is what they think of when they see a blue balloon and for them it is a perfectly valid response and they can call it a "blue balloon" and in their world be right. Technically they have some issues in their cells in the back of the eye that are probably genetic and they learn to compensate. No big deal except for those who are red-green deficient (think stop lights and driving) and it is no small wonder that the red light is always on the top and more accidents occur at intersections when the lights are strung horizontally rather than vertically.

Point is that kids are learning all these visual clues - generally for the first time as they have one life experience after another...like the two in the picture. This was their first boat ride other than a kayak and when they weren't strapped into a car seat with limited vision. My son and I let them roam the cabin in this little car ferry during the 20 minute trip and look out any window they wanted at anything that they cared to see.  For both this was a first time thing and I'm sure a bit overwhelming to their senses.


We, as adults, see something new and relate it to something else in our memory (that looks a lot like "x") and just keep building. But did you ever wonder (because you can't remember) the first time you saw a real ocean wave with its swirls and whitecaps and not see it from shore but going towards shore? That the ocean isn't green or blue but on a stormy day it is grey and menacing and not at all clear like the water in the sink. And for some reason those bumps called waves make it hard to stand sometimes because the floor under your feet takes on the rhythm they produce and all the learning and experiences have to be added up to make that connection?

When you grow impatient with a child, just remember that for them much of life is a "first time" event - the first oatmeal - the first boo-boo - the first rabbit. They are a lot more fun on so many levels if you imagine what they are seeing and how they are seeing it.

That advice goes for any number of things.










Comments