How does one see what isn't there? One metaphor I like to use is the example of negative space. Look at the picture to the right. Do you see a vase or do you see two faces? The answer, of course, is that both images are there.
I now want you to keep this metaphor in mind as I relate it to my post earlier today about why parents must "unlearn danger" and allow their kids to walk to school or home from the school bus. It is human nature to want to protect our children from harm's way and it is easy to think that danger lurks in the heart of every stranger when we are bombarded with news stories such as that of Jaycee Lee Dugard — the young girl who was abducted and held captive for 19 years.
But as I wrote earlier, it is fact that only 115 kids were kidnapped by strangers last year whereas over 250,000 were injured in automobile accidents.
Many of you parents might now say, "That's all fine and well, but I'm not going to take the risk that my little Johnnie or Jane might be one of those unfortunate 115." Here, however, is where it is important to "see what isn't there." If you decide to pick up or drop off your child from school because of this fear, there is a far greater chance that he or she will now be injured in a car accident.
The problem is that we don't "see" these car accidents as having occurred due to our unfounded fear of allowing our children to walk to school.
Nor do we see all the cases of childhood diabetes which are occurring because our children aren't walking to school and getting enough exercise. Just imagine — or "see" in your mind's eye if you will — the positive health implications for America's children if the millions of kids who are now being picked up by their well-intentioned parents were instead allowed to walk!
More unfortunate still is the loss of independence which is not being fostered in our children because of parents overly protective behavior. We can't "see" this loss but my guess is that some parents will "feel" it later in life when their kids are still overly dependent upon them.
A little unlearning now could save you a lot of pain in the future.