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Sunday, 4 September 2016

Perception

I had an aha moment on the weekend, that nearly made my head explode - it was a good thing it didn't as I was in the car and that would have been a mess. We were listening to Bill Burr's Monday Morning Podcast (from the 1.9.16) and he was rambling on about a great vodka over ice or something, and he was saying that you had it on the porch like you were in the 1800's and then he said 'We won't dwell on that because unless you were white, that was a really bad time for you'. It hit me. I furnish every mention of history completely differently to others. In my head it was all white crinolines and Jane Austen/Southern Belle/Days of the Raj with gin and tonics on the verandah but 1800's doesn't just mean that. It means slavery, oppression and a myriad of other things depending on the colour of your skin.

I have talked about how we can never really walk a mile in someone else's shoes before, but this was such a clear and succinct example. And something I'd never thought about. We are taught history in 'bits'. This happened and then this happened. However, it's all happening all the same time. I was taught 'White' history. However that was not the only side to history. When you visit Vietnam, you get a clear idea of the different versions of 'history'.

When we talk about something, we think everyone understands it the same as us but everyone is furnishing it with their understanding. There truly is no reality, only perception. It's worth remembering that when dealing with children, especially teens. Their reality is completely different to ours. What they hear us say is not necessarily what we are trying to tell them. In the movie 2 Guns, there's a throw away comment "If you're hearing something, it's only because you're hearing it, not because I'm saying it". I think that's more profound than I realised at the time. What I'm saying and what you're hearing can be two different things, depending on your experience, as was the case with the casual Burr comment. Hugely different things.

I guess all we can do is try to check ourselves. When talking to our children, especially teens, try and speak their language a little better, so that what we're saying is also what they're hearing.

Linking with #OpenSlather



14 comments:

  1. Ahhh. This is good Lydia. Thanks for the reminder.

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  2. "There is no reality, only perception" So very true. That line about Jane Austen and white history.. YES! Thought-provoking stuff.

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  3. Yep. I remember starting 4th year history being entirely baffled by the teaching that there is no such thing as a fact when it comes to history. By the end of 4th year I remember thinking 'Well of course there isn't'.

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  4. Thanks for linking up with the Ultimate Rabbit Hole - guest host, Shari from GoodFoodWeek.

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  5. I never really thought about things like this. I will have to try it with my kids x
    #fortheloveofBLOG

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  6. I can completely understand this, we only really know history from the view that we were taught it buy our teachers, parents etc...when I was in school I was taught about white and black history, but from the view of a white person. This is a really interesting and thought provoking post. Thanks for linking up at #fortheloveofblog. Claire x

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  7. You so wise. "There truly is no reality, only perception."

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  8. Great post. Thank you for making me thing.
    #fortheloveofBLOG

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  9. great post. We are all influenced by our own personal experiences and bias. Remembering that others may be perceiving something different than you are is an important part of communication #forthelovofblog

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  10. That quote is spot on - "If you're hearing something, it's only because you're hearing it, not because I'm saying it". This is really apt when it comes to understanding the different ways of thinking with neurodiversity and autism, for instance. Just because some people don't think the same as the majority, doesn't mean they are disordered or that their thinking is inherently wrong. I love how your posts continually make me think Lydia!

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  11. I always keep in mind there are two sides to the story, no matter who's version I heard.
    Love the advice of talking to kids on their level to be heard.

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  12. Lydia, unless one's life is directly connected how can one truly expect to understand? To know something and to experience it are two different things. We certainly have come along way since the days of slavery and the problems of the past aren't the real problem today. However, if allow empathy for others to rule our hearts then there's hope for a better tomorrow.

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