I've written about perspective before, but dagnabit, it's important! On Saturday we took the boat out for an early fall cruise. It was a nice day on the water but if I were to rate the boating days this season, it would probably have not made it into the top five. The weather just wasn't up to snuff - not really any direct sunshine and we couldn't really go very fast because it was so cold.
Don't get me wrong, I do still believe that the worst day boating is better than the best day commuting - even if a border collie is trying to kill you. It's just that to me, it was business as usual - nothing special, just another afternoon on the water.
My younger boys brought friends with them. It was a get-together that had been planned and rescheduled for months and originally hadn't been for boating. But the forecast was for such a nice day (now Wednesday instead of Saturday) that we didn't want to miss it. It was decided the friends could come along.
They had a blast. I could tell they were excited and it was a joy to have them. What I missed, most of the afternoon, was how significant the trip was for them. I kept thinking, if only it warmer they could do this - or - if only the sun would stay out a little longer we could do that.
We heard back from their Mom as soon as she got home. "They just kept talking about it. Thank you so much for taking them. They had so much fun." We were glad. I ran into their Dad yesterday and after I said hello he said, "The first thing they asked me when they got home was, 'Dad, can we get a speed boat?'"
My wife received a thank you note from one of them - a piece of paper covered with stick drawings (way better than mine) and other illustrations - showing the grandest time, giant smiles, and with a huge thank you.
I knew they were having fun, but I let myself be distracted by what was wrong with the day so I missed out on my own version of their happiness. I didn't have their perspective.
In our writing, it is very hard to recapture that "first boat ride of the summer" feeling, but we need to try. Failing to see the greatness behind the perceived structural or development issues of our work can keep you from appreciating the accomplishments you've achieved.