The Parable of the Eyeglasses
My 5-year-old son now wears eyeglasses.
My wife started to notice that his eyes were crossing a bit when he woke up in the mornings and I volunteered to waylay her fears by getting him into see an ophthalmologist last week.
Turns out that the mom instinct was correct (as usual…) Harper is officially far-sighted and now has a purple pair of glasses strapped to his head during most waking hours with a sweet custom-made Star Wars glasses strap.
Vision is an interesting thing, both as it applies to the physical realm (eyeballs) and in the ways it plays within the world of ideas (insight and output in art, leadership, etc.)
First, when your vision isn’t optimized, you often don’t know what you are missing.
Once friends found out Harper was getting lenses, stories started to be told about tons of personal experiences with this phenomenon. A woman told us she lived part of her childhood having no idea there were words on billboards. Another guy said he always thought trees were just big green blobs. He never grasped the detail and definition.
Your personal vision – of yourself, your potential, your purpose, your possibilities – works the same way. When it is neglected, you gradually forget things could be better.
Second, fixing your vision can be scary – for you and those you love.
Sometimes what you see once the vision is corrected is not all colorful commercial messaging on the interstate and beautiful trees lining the roads in your subdivision. Sometimes it’s wobbly and disconcerting and uncomfortable. Sometimes there are problems to be fixed. And that can affect those closest to you in lots of ways. My wife and I were typical parents in our plethora of worries about how Harper’s new accessory would affect both him and us. Having glasses means new responsibility and extra things to take care of and think about.
What added responsibility awaits if you take the time to assess and adjust your vision and outlook as a parent, spouse, friend and leader? Are there firings to make? Are there unhealthy relationships and situations that need to be snipped?
Finally, sometimes optimizing your vision means having to stand out.
The morning Harper was set to head back to school and show off his new frames to his friends he got cold feet. He told his momma that “maybe I should wait until tomorrow to go to school with my glasses.” Kids can be cruel and no one wants to be a weirdo.
And unfortunately, that feeling doesn’t go away with time. Most of us live our lives longing for at least a certain level of acceptance. Once you decide to change your outlook and improve your vision, you might make enemies or people might think you have lost your mind. But once the glasses are on, it’s nearly impossible to go back. Once you have gotten a glimpse of the clear world, you can no longer accept blobby trees and smeary billboards.
For Harper it all turned out fine. A friend already wearing glasses broke the ice immediately by getting goofy with him when he returned to school and he was instantly empowered to claim his new space as ‘that guy” with the purple glasses and the cool Star Wars strap.
The question is: are YOU brave enough to be “that guy”?