Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Removing The Blinders: Perspective From A Star-Shaped Balloon

One night when my wife was still in the hospital, my daughter and I returned home from a visit to the hospital to find my son waiting for us with his grandmother holding onto two balloons. One was a round red balloon and the other one was a blue star-shaped balloon. My daughter immediately demanded the blue balloon. When her brother kept the red balloon for himself she threw herself on the floor, crying hysterically.

Ordinarily, I would not have viewed this outburst in a larger perspective. However, given the fact that I knew that my daughter was distraught because her mother was staying overnight in the hospital and would not be home that night, I suddenly realized that her brother's refusal to give her the balloon she wanted was not what was upsetting her; it was just the final event that opened up the floodgate of emotions that my daughter was carrying inside her. Understanding this, I picked her up and held her, reassuring her that he mother would be home again.

This seemed to comfort my daughter and she was able to calm down and forget about the balloon. With this event, I understood that I needed to remove my blinders when dealing with people and attempt to see things in greater context; to remember that people are just like icebergs.

(Image courtesy of


At July 12, 2006 at 6:43:00 AM EDT, Blogger Philly Farmgirl said...

ASJ, you are on your way to becoming an incredibly awesome Tatty and student of people. I too have learned the most incredible life lessons from raising my children. And it really is just you take off the blinders and look around you. Once you change your perspective, and especially if you put yourself on the samelevel of the other person, it is amazing what you will see.

At July 12, 2006 at 8:48:00 AM EDT, Blogger torontopearl said...

Nice commentary/post.

To some people, removing the blinders is a gift they automatically have--insight and perspective of "the other side" is a natural.

To others, it's hard work. Sometimes they just don't want to recognize that what they're "seeing" can represent much more than what they're not "seeing."

At July 12, 2006 at 9:52:00 AM EDT, Blogger Shoshana said...

People certainly are like icebergs - without a very close-up look, you don't see the majority of what is there. It's definitely worth taking the time to look deeper and find out what's hidden under the surface - excellent analogy!

At July 12, 2006 at 11:10:00 AM EDT, Blogger socialworker/frustrated mom said...

Good intuitive take on the situation.. Very interesting!

At July 12, 2006 at 1:04:00 PM EDT, Blogger FrumWithQuestions said...

When you are dealing with your own children it is much easier to see what the overall problem might be but when you are dealing with co-workers or other poeple it is almost impossible to know what is going on in their life.

At July 12, 2006 at 2:11:00 PM EDT, Blogger A Simple Jew said...

Frum Philly Farmgirl: Here are my thoughts on being a good father. I wrote this back in 2004.

Pearl: For me it is not a gift, but something I have to work at.

Shoshana: Thank you for your posting linking to this posting. I am glad this was insightfull to you. In all fairness, the analogy of the iceberg comes from Rabbi Lazer Brody.

Socialworker/Frustrated mom: Thanks!

FrumWithQuestions: Very true! But it doesn't exempt us from trying.

At July 12, 2006 at 10:37:00 PM EDT, Blogger Neil Harris said...

Well stated and a great thought for me to remember as klak Yisrael enters the three weeks. Thanks and have a meaningful fast!

At July 13, 2006 at 3:46:00 AM EDT, Blogger A Simple Jew said...

Neil: I am glad you appreciated that posting.


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