This post and the photo above are inspired by Jeanne’s (A Nola Girl at Heart’s) weekly photo prompt, which is “color.”
A few months ago, my older son and I had this conversation:
Me: “You’ve got a hole in that shirt. We need to throw it away.”
Me: “Right there on the shoulder. It’s not on a seam so it can’t really be fixed.”
Son: Seeing the hole. “Awww. You have to fix it. It’s my favorite shirt.”
Me: “It’s a black t-shirt. You have at least five more.”
Son: “But this one has so much color!”
I fixed the hole, not very well, but at least his skin doesn’t show through it anymore. Sure enough, he continues to wear that shirt regularly. I notice there’s another hole in the shirt and I wonder if he will wear it until it turns into a half-shirt with more holes than Swiss cheese.
Our shirt discussion is enlightening to me. We all have preferences that we may not be able to explain, or get others to understand. I’m on board with that. This conversation showed me something else that I hadn’t honed in on before: our definition of color.
This is my idea of “so much color:”
It’s no wonder that sometimes our communication is off. If we see color so differently, it makes sense that other definitions wouldn’t match up well, either. This could explain why I end up frustrated when I ask him to “clean” his room or put something “away.”
Without the benefit of a child-to-parent dictionary, the best I can determine is that “clean” means clear a path to the bed and “away” means move the item to the closest place out of sight – not necessarily where the item belongs.
I can’t say I won’t be irritated the next time I’m searching for my potato peeler in a kitchen drawer version of “Where’s Waldo?”, but maybe I’ll remember it’s not his fault; it’s a language barrier.
Or maybe not.