By Courtney Warren
It was dark inside the wolf.
I heard this line not long again as an author taught about different writing perspectives and loved it so much I immediately wrote it down. It’s from the perspective of Little Red Riding Hood. Wow! That changes things doesn’t it? The story doesn’t seem quite as sweet as we might remember (between you and me, it was never sweet. Check out the Brothers Grimm version). Either way, the perspective was what drew me to the line.
Perspective is just a fickle thing. I think many are familiar with the famous To Kill a Mockingbird Atticus Finch line “walk around in another person’s skin,” and we all like to say we do it. But how often do we follow up with “I get where they’re coming from, but...” And there it is: “but.”
How often do we change our opinion after hearing that perspective? And more importantly, how often are we genuinely open to listening to another person’s perspective? Especially when we don’t agree or are different from that person? Culturally? Politically? Religiously? We label someone something, and then that’s absolutely all we see.
How often have you been labeled something you aren’t? And then because of that label, you’re not heard or seen. Isn’t it infuriating? If only that person would just change their perspective and see that I’m not so. If only they would listen and know I’m speaking from my heart. If only they considered how I felt when they said those things. If only, if only, if only. If only they had a different perspective.
I have a dear friend whom I’m blessed to see every day. She is my opposite in almost every single way. While we’re both teachers, our teaching perspective couldn’t be more different. Where I’m glitter, she’s steel; and where she’s calming waters, I’m ocean waves. However, something that I’ve noticed she does brilliantly is provide perspective. She explains an idea or issue while giving all points of view. She points out my perspective, then gives her own and explains why she sees this issue differently. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve changed my mind simply based on the delivery of her perspective.
Wouldn’t it be incredible to have the ability to make that same kind of delivery? So that other people saw things in a completely different way than they’ve always seen? To provide a perspective as powerful as “it was dark inside the wolf” comes from a very loving place. Never has this friend made me feel stupid, too young, or unqualified when explaining her thoughts. I’m heard, recognized, and provided with new information. And she always ends with “you see?”
All she wants is for me to see it another way. Now, sometimes I don’t want to, and she knows it, so she’ll stroke my hair and tell me it’s okay but we’re going to get over it together, because this is the way it must be. And, almost always, she’s right.
I hope that one day, when I grow up, I can be the kind of person that gives that perspective. The kind my friend provided. The kind that leaves you changed for the better, inspired, and rushing to grab a pen, because “it was dark inside the wolf.”