I was talking with Squee and Moliére this morning on my morning workout walk/run/aardvark/whatever, and for some reason we got talking about modes of cognition, and the ability to take someone else's perspective.
My brother Spacey told me about this story he uses to assess his own child's perspective taking abilities. In the story, Kid A (not the radiohead album) has a favorite quarter in a piggy bank, that he shows to Kid B, then leaves the room for some reason. While Kid A is off someplace (maybe talking to Thom Yorke on the phone), Kid B takes the quarter and puts it in his pocket.
Here's where the cognitive development test comes in. In the story Kid A comes back in the room, and shakes the piggy bank, it's empty. This is the part where Spacey asks his kid where Kid A thinks the coin is. If his kiddo says "It's in B's pocket", then they don't have perspective taking skills yet. If they say "He doesn't know." then they can see things from Kid A's perspective.
At least, I think that's how that thing goes. I know he reads these, so if I got it wrong, he'll let me know.
Anyhow, I'm telling Squee & Moliére about this (and just noticed that they're collectively S&M, which is really pretty funny), and it brings up this old memory of mine, from when I was five, and didn't have great perspective taking skills yet.
I was watching Romper Room, which I loved. My mom called me for lunch. Being the good kid I was, I obediently switched off the television, and went and had my lunch.
As soon as I was done, I rushed back to switch the television on, excited to get back to what I had been watching, to pick up right where I had left off.
Keep in mind, this was 1976. (Yep, I'm that old.) TV didn't do that back then. So when I turned it back on, of course something else was on. I want to say it was Louis Rukeyser's Wall Street Week, or something equally horrifying, but that's maybe just me painting a terrible picture. I was disgusted and outraged to find out that television kept on going, even when I had to pause for a sandwich.
I laugh about this memory now, but I was really upset back then, in the way that only very young children can get upset about things. The very big lesson there, a lesson that I've been learning since is that I am not the center of the universe.
While I was busy eating my PB&J with the crusts cut off, all sorts of other things were happening in the world, which had nothing to do with me directly.
It's still like that. While I'm writing this post, people all over the place are eating breakfast, making coffee, calling their children to breakfast, tying shoelaces, getting cash from ATM's, fantasizing about having telekinetic powers (ok, I'm doing that one too, now.), and singing that awful Pen-Pineapple-Apple-Pen song under their breath. (Sorry.)
The thing I'm grateful for about this is the perspective and peace it brings me. With all this stuff going on, when things happen directly to me, whether good or bad, I know not to take it personally, because it's not really about me.