Tunnel Vision- Friendship Problems

my friend's son made this one day.
My daughter doesn't like to do anything after school. She doesn't like to talk about the day, answer questions or anything until after having some time alone. The music is turned on, usually followed by her drifting off for a quick nap on the car ride home.

So she was less than enthusiastic when I told her we were headed straight to the Art Museum to see the Christmas displays before the museum closed at 5:00pm. A quick bribe of a drink and a hot dog ensued, and off we were to meet my other daughter at the museum.

Daughter who met us had to observe three paintings for a college class, so we strolled down the "non-Christmassy" side of the museum to ponder paintings. My favorite- The Little Shepherdess by William Bouguereau, was right there, life size and looking at us.

I simply commented to my still reluctant daughter how peaceful and confident the Little Shepherdess looked. Her head whipped around in a suddenly alert, fiery and baffled moment as she challenged my thoughts. "She isn't peaceful! That isn't confidence! Look at her eyes. Her eyes are sad!  She's worried, like the weight of the world is on her shoulders." (As she said this last sentence, she motioned toward the symbolic staff resting on the shoulders of the shepherdess).

Suddenly I realized the power of art. 

I then proceeded to tell my reasonings of why she looked peaceful and confident, and at home with her position, therefore the relaxed stance with her staff.

Up strolls the daughter who is actually there to observe the paintings for class. We ask her opinion since she hadn't heard ours yet. We said, "Look at her eyes, what do they say?"

"She's not happy, she's not mad, she's just okay with everything. Resigned."

There you have it. Three of us all looking at the same painting, seeing three completely different things.

As I thought about this later, oh how this represents so many problems girls have in life with friends. Most friendship struggles and even mom struggles could be pinpointed back to this observation. Everyone looked at the same situation and saw completely different things.

We all see things differently.

All you see is that your daughter says she and her friend aren't getting along anymore. Your daughter says her friend seems "too good for her anymore" and is ignoring her.

You didn't see when your daughter spilled her friend's secrets to a group of friends, hoping to be the one with the latest juicy gossip. You didn't see her friend decide to distance herself from your daughter, hurt that a good friend would do that to her.

All you hear is your daughter moaning over how intolerable a girl is at school and that she just can't take her attitude anymore.

You don't see the "intolerable" girl at her home at night, struggling to learn to be herself and fit in at this new school that terrifies her. She's so used to being mistreated that she's built up a shell of defense.

Moms and girls alike, we never know the whole situation. Sometimes it is like the picture above. We feel like we are seeing a situation so clearly, but we are really just peering through one little hole. (My friend's son made this one day while I was talking to his mom. So creative).

It would help us all to learn to take down the mask of prejudgments, take down the inability to think our own may be at fault, and give others the benefit of the doubt that we give ourselves and our own children.

As we take a look at the whole picture, hear each person's side and consider where each person is coming from, odds are better that we will arrive at an understanding.

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