Little children have overactive imaginations, which is why they see life through colored lenses. One afternoon, two little boys were playing together in their backyard, when one decided to get mom’s white bedsheets to build a fort. They draped the sheets over the low branches of the tree that stood in the middle of the backyard garden. It was the perfect hiding spot for them as they escaped into their pretend world of pirates.
An hour later, their mom called them for dinner. They dropped their toys and ran inside, leaving the bedsheets hanging over the branches. When dinner was done, Mom asked them to say their prayers, brush their teeth and go straight to bed. It had been a busy day, so the boys went up, each to his room. They retired to bed and drifted off to sleep smiling as the thoughts of their fun day lingered in their minds.
In the middle of the night, one of the boys woke up to use the bathroom. As he sat up, he glanced out his bedroom window. He thought he saw something, which sent chills down his spine. Could it be? He shook his head in disbelief as fear gripped his entire body. He started to tremble, not from the pressing feeling to use the toilet—oh, no—but from the feeling of danger lurking nearby.
There, in the middle of the yard, stood two creatures. They seemed to be moving gently, swaying with the wind on this quiet night. The lights in the backyard were turned off, but he could see their outlines in the reflection of the moonlight. One creature seemed to plunge forward and . . . At that point, the boy screamed and ran to his parents’ room.
“Dad! Dad!” he yelled.
His father got up, startled, and held his son, trying to calm him down. “What’s wrong?” he asked.
“There . . . there are . . . ,“ the little boy stammered as he tried to find the words to explain. But all he could do was point while muttering, “. . . monsters in the garden.”
His dad knew that this was impossible, but he also knew that he had to check on what had scared his son so badly. He held his little boy by the hand and led him back to his room. He said calmly, “Why don’t you wait here, and I’ll go down to scare the monsters away.”
Reluctantly, the little boy let go of his father’s hand as he climbed back into bed. Forming a protective circle with his pillows, he glanced at the window from time to time. A few seconds later, his father went down to the backyard, turned on the lights and called his little boy to look out the window. Sitting up, the boy looked out and realized that the monsters were not monsters after all; they were the bedsheets he and his brother had been playing with all afternoon.
It’s interesting how our perception of a situation changes when our knowledge of it increases. Think about how many times you’ve had reservations about someone you just met. Reservations are sometimes based on unconscious bias, but when we take the time to engage and get to know the person, our perception about them often changes.
What about a time you took on an assignment that you thought was a total waste of your energy? However, as you worked on it and learned more, you realized that you didn’t know as much as you thought you did.
As humans, it’s only natural to make judgement calls based on your what we think we know. However, the truth is that there is always more to know if you choose to learn.
We can change our life when we change our perception, and we can change our perception when we increase our knowledge. This month, make a pact with yourself to learn something new.