Not too long ago, I was sharing a story with my sister-in-law about growing up in Kansas. She comes from a military family so they lived in a lot of places while she was growing up. My family, on the other hand, lived in the same town all our growing up lives. My dad grew up on a farm 16 miles west of our little town. He's never lived anywhere else, except for his time in the army. It was a great place to grow up with my paternal grandmother close by. Time spent at Grandma's house was the best! Her only rules were to love each other and have fun! I loved her big green recliner where we both could sit, eat popcorn out of her big blue pan, and watch tv in the dark! Somehow, after school, I could wind up at her office in the court house with the big, big books from the courtroom surrounding us on all the walls, the old adding machine (the grandfather to today's calculators, but WAY more fun!), and the courtroom just across the hall. How I loved to sit in the judge's leather chair!
My other grandparents lived farther away in southeast Kansas. My grandpa was a cowboy and my grandma was a music teacher. Grandma had a studio in which she taught all kinds of music lessons and on several days of the week she traveled around to the other communities and gave the lessons in the students' homes. She was busy, busy, busy! Grandpa, by the time I came along, was mostly retired. He worked nights at the Moose Lodge keeping an eye on things so his days (after he'd slept for a while) were free to be with the grandkids (me). My days with him were wonderful! We always had to go check the water in the field for the cattle, but before we went to the pasture Grandpa would stop at the gas station and I got a pop and the pink peppermint candies for the road (all of a couple of miles). Life was good! After doing our "chores" the time was mine. A lot of time we sat on the porch swing looking out over the Flint Hills, watching the trains come and go, with his stories of growing up in Kansas.
I loved those days. I spent many of them over many summers into my adult life there. We got into trouble with Grandma more than once when she came home to see that our "play" had not been cleaned up. I loved the rodeos in the summer time where my uncles roped and cousins rode broncs and bulls. What great fun!
And just as I was telling my sister-in-law about the rodeos, my brother came in. He is four years younger than me so his perspective is a little different than mine. He "hated those rodeos--it was SO hot, and dusty, and boring!!!" He "would never make his kids go do something like that" (but he'll sit at football and basketball games for days on end and watch his kids).
Isn't it interesting? We lived through the same events, but our perceptions were "skewed" by our own personalities, life events, and, probably, birth order. The thing that I look back on so fondly, he remembers as a horrible event and, yet, it was the same one. Only our unique "eyes" saw things differently.
What a great reminder to us all, I think, to try to see things from someone else's point of view. It's easy to assume that we all see the same thing in the same way. Stephen R. Covey says, "Seek first to understand, then be understood." Good advice, I think.