Do you remember when you were back in grade school, learning the difference between nouns and verbs? We were taught proper nouns, improper nouns, pronouns and action words…. I can still hear my second grade teacher asking; ” What is the noun in the sentence , See Spot run.? Well, that’s simple. Spot.
Pleased with our correct response, she challenged us further. ” What is the first verb in the sentence?” Ah, that too is simple. Run. The teacher turned back to the chalkboard and underlined the word ” See”.
” Run is not the first verb. The word see is the first action word……………… How can it be? See is really an action word? In the mind of a small child, it’s a thing we do with our eyes not an action word…………..
Over the years, I clearly have come to understand how indeed, it is an action word. From the moment we open our eyes in the morning and begin “seeing”, actions follow. Seeing triggers action. This morning when I opened my eyes and my feet hit the floor, my eyes led me to load the dishwasher, mop the kitchen floor and pay two bills that were laying on my counter. I opened my laptop, sent 9 emails, read 111 more and quickly scanned FB and Twitter to see what I had missed overnight.
Driving to work, my action word based eyes caused me to yield to oncoming traffic, stop at red lights and pass Sunday drivers.
Arriving at work, I began the task of making visual rounds, quickly pointing out the things I saw wrong.
” Why is the TV on this channel?”
“Who left this chart here?
” What exactly is this we are serving for breakfast?
“Why is this resident sitting here and not in the dining room?
” Who dressed Mrs. Smith in red and pink, seriously?”
My action based ability to ” see,” certainly found what was wrong in every setting. From the moment I got up, I was correcting things, fixing things and following my eyes every direction…….Yet, my eyes did not point me to the beauty of the things around me, the positives, the pleasantries……………How could that be? My verb (seeing) led me to a another verb…”judging”.
We all do it. We judge based on what we see. We form opinions based on what we think we know, based on how things appear, based on what we see……..it’s a domino effect.
Regardless of whether we are dealing with friends, family or dementia patients, we need to temper our “seeing” with a noun ( compassion) and a adjective ( understanding).We need to stop seeing so much of what we think we see and take notice of the beauty and the positives that are around us.
Many times what we see, depends on what we are looking for……..If we wish to see the negatives, guess what? We will find them. If we wish to be critical, judgmental and bias based on what we think we see, we will find ourselves miserable, depressed and in a constant state of anger.
Let’s go back to the questions I drilled my staff on this morning.
” Why is the TV on this channel?” Because the staff was taking care of the residents and did not notice the TV or it’s channel.
“Who left this chart here? The doctor. He is in the room with the wife of a resident who is dying; providing her with comfort and reassurance.
” What exactly is this we are serving for breakfast? It’s a new recipe given to us by a resident’s daughter. It was her mother’s favorite dish.
“Why is this resident sitting here and not in the dining room? ” Her son is taking her to breakfast.
” Who dressed Mrs. Smith in red and pink, seriously?” It’s her birthday, and red and pink are her favorite colors. She picked the outfit out herself.”
“Oh”. What else I could I say, but oh? You see, I allowed my eyes to pass judgment before I knew the facts. How many times in life, are we all guilty of jumping to conclusions, based on what we think we know or see? How many times have we been proven wrong after the fact?
” See Spot Run.” Maybe we should find out why Spot is running….maybe he is running to his owner, full of joy, excitement and elation! Maybe he is running from a bear! Maybe is running after his ball…..
What we see, depends on what we are looking for.
“What we do see depends mainly on what we look for. … In the same field the farmer will notice the crop, the geologists the fossils, botanists the flowers, artists the colouring, sportmen the cover for the game. Though we may all look at the same things, it does not all follow that we should see them.”
― John Lubbock, The Beauties of Nature and the Wonders of the World We Live in