26 Chapter 2
It makes me see why people find it so hard to see another person’s point of view.
The quote implies we have to let go of not only our ideas but also our identity
and who we are. I think people probably find that really scary. Wow! It means to
me that we have a lot of work to do to understand each other and ourselves.
—Dee, preschool teacher
Art of Awareness Activity
Practice Exploring the Influences on Your Perceptions
Before you can observe children with a new set of eyes, you have to recognize
your own filters. What influences the way you see things? This is the first step
in developing the utmost sensitivity in your perception. The following activity
will help you explore examples of these differences in perception. It requires
that you work with at least one other person to compare your responses.
A group of people will offer you a livelier discussion and more differences to
1 Find an interesting photo in a book, magazine, or online that shows a
group of people involved in an activity or interaction together. Make
enough copies for each person doing this activity.
2 If you are working with a partner, each person should look over the
photo for a few minutes. Without talking or writing, make some mental
notes about what you see. Notice your emotional reactions to the photo
as well as the details of what you see. Next, put the photo away and take
turns describing to each other what you saw in the photograph. Each
person should describe what you saw without comments or discussion
from the other person.
3 If you are working with a group, ask two or three people to volunteer to
leave the room. (Volunteers should not be concerned that there will be
tricks or judging of people.) Then ask the volunteers to come back into
the room one at a time. Give each volunteer a copy of the photo to look
over for a minute or two. Ask the volunteer to mentally note the details
as well as emotional reactions to the photo. Take the picture away and
ask for a verbal description of what the volunteer observed.
4 After everyone has shared what they remember, discuss the differences
between their recollections. Use the following questions to guide the
What were the differences in what each person noticed about