Point of View

Black squirrel 2/1/2010

I snapped this picture of one of our black squirrels in between snow storms. Squirrels can be funny sometimes. This pregnant female was eating old bread that I had put out for them, when she paused to look at me as I appeared with the camera. It sometimes makes me wonder who is watching who? For whatever reason, she certainly thought I was interesting!

Look at that animal on the other side of that glass. They live in such a strange cage! What is that thing in its hand that keeps making flashes of light?” Yeah, the squirrel’s point of view would be interesting to know. Unfortunately, I’ve not successfully interviewed any squirrels lately.

Change in Point of View

I had a dog’s eye view of the world this morning. My Meniere’s kicked in with a vicious reminder that I have a balance disorder. I was extremely wobbly and had a couple of tumbles. I ended up sitting on the floor with the dogs for awhile. (Not as far to fall, ya know?) Seeing things from a “dog’s eye view” was something I do not always experience. I sat on the floor enjoying my green tea with Chloe snuggled close. (For ya know? There is only ONE reason I would be on the floor… and that would be to spend one-on-one time with her!). My goofy Norwegian Elkhound was so excited to have me down on his level. He kept running to the family room to grab a dog toy to bring it back to me. He would detour underneath the heavy dining room table to better navigate the chairs that are rarely pushed in as they should be. Since I was sitting there on the floor, I could see up under the table. One long strand of my daughter’s hair hung from one of the bolts. I could see two large oval places in the carpet where the dogs park themselves under the table during meals. (This lent clear evidence to the fact that when my son vacuums on Wednesdays, he does not do underneath the table! GOTCHA!). Everything looks different from about three feet from the floor. My husband came through the room and I had to look up at him to talk. Dogs always have to look up, don’t they?

Of course “point of view” does not literally mean sharing the same VIEW as another physically. The phrase itself means the mental position of considering something such as an opinion, a story, theory, or suggestion of another.

What Shapes Your Point of View?

Rarely will two people have the same point of view on every topic. Your point of view is often shaped by your life experiences. I’m taking Multicultural Psychology right now, and it took my class nearly a week to agree on a definition for culture. It use to be that a person’s culture had to do with your genetics, race and ethnicity. The field of psychology has been forced to re-define what a culture group is as obviously far more influences the development of an individual than their genes, race and ethnic background. Religiosity, gender, socioeconomic status, disability, sexual orientation, politics, victimization, education, war, natural disaster and much more will affect a person’s development and evolving point of view.

I think it is important to understand what has shaped your own point of view. For one thing, this introspective activity is bound to make you more aware of how the people in your life have a different point of view because of their culture groups. Some psychologists call this broadened definition of culture a new word… sub-cultures. A family can have a number of sub-cultures even within the same house. My husband and I still have both children living at home right now. Believe me… a 19-year-old boy and a 20-year-old girl have different culture groups than my husband and I do. Their very AGE sets them apart from us and provides unique challenges as we navigate living together peacefully in spite of our differences.

At work, I am the only person who has a disability. Thankfully, after working there for seven years now, no one actually treats me like I have a disability. Because I have Chloe now too, they know that she is helping me. As we maneuver up and down the dangerous staircase each school day, they don’t stand and watch with a catch in their breath waiting to jump in and help. They know Chloe can get me up and down the stairs safely. My students no longer crash into each other trying to reach a paper, pen, eraser, or book that I drop in the classroom. Instead they smile and watch Chloe hop up to go retrieve the item for me. (Although many times they are smiling because Chloe has to stretch/yawn first before jogging over to assist).

I absolutely believe that people with disabilities are their own culture group. You may not even have the same disability as another person, but there is something unique about living a life WORTH LIVING in spite of a disability. People with disabilities have unique ABILITIES. It changes your point of view.

What is unique about YOU? What has helped to shape your point of view? Have you ever identified your culture groups? I think that by fully realizing all your OWN puzzle pieces, it makes it much easier to see the completed picture puzzle of others. It helps to keep us from focusing on one confusing, annoying puzzle piece. All the unique puzzle pieces combined make one beautiful person.

Denise Portis

© 2010 Personal Hearing Loss Journal

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2 thoughts on “Point of View

  1. Hi, love your blog and really recognise your view on disability culture. Our site Experience My Culture is all about helping people share their personal culture with others. It’s only 3 months old and still developing. We’d love to see you there.

  2. Hi Denise and Chloe,
    I wanted to tell you that I wrote you a reply to your comment on my blog. I also read your post here. What a wonderful piece! I identified with so much of what you say here. Thanks for writing — it is inspirational to me.
    PS I’ve never seen a black squirrel. Very cute photo.

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