A Toddler’s Business Perspective

by | Feb 26, 2019

“Oh, wow! Light!”

My one year old’s eyes match the brilliance of the overhead lamp we pass on our way to his room for bedtime. He reaches, twists his little torso as we move, to the point that I would be in danger of dropping him if I wasn’t paying attention. I love my son. I love that he shares my taste in interior decorating, I really do, but I am also running on 90 minutes of rest since last night’s night shift and all I want to do is get him to his room so we can read the same stories we do every night and then I can catch the same sad amount of sleep as I do every sleep and then drag myself out of bed before dawn to make a work meeting where we will most likely discuss the same things we discuss every meeting. We just need to get through this.

“LIIIIIIIGHT!” my son practically sings, and I am about to scold him on the riskiness of trying to leap out of Mama’s arms in a stairwell when I realize he isn’t pointing at the lamp at all but at the wall, where colors from the shade have been projected through and dance around as we walk. Three years that light has been there, and I never noticed what it could do.

When you await the arrival of your first child everyone tells you that becoming a parent will change how you see the world. Far fewer mention how it can change how you see your profession. The reality of staying at a job for any length of time is that it won’t always be exciting. Routines and habits will form, and there will be periods where the day to day tasks pale in comparison to the full sensory explosion of raising the human that awaits you at home. So maybe it’s time to take the lead from that human. My son may look at, read, feel, discuss things over and over, but he notices something different each time, and never does the encounter seem disappointing. Toddlers don’t get bored, at least not in the way adults do, and any repetition they create fosters learning rather than frustration.

This springs to mind as I try to caffeinate the sleep out of my eyes at the next morning’s meeting, and I find myself throwing in suggestions during the initial silence rather than wondering why no one else speaks up, and then talking through ways to retime and restructure so that more people can participate, rather than fume at the fact that, as usual, only half of the invitees have shown. I manage to head home more energized than exasperated. I do love this place, I remember. I keep coming back at odd hours because by and large I enjoy the work I do. They aren’t major shifts, but they are still shifts, and they are possibilities that have been there all along.

I may not always embrace every aspect of my work with the same joy my son embraces light fixtures, but I can remind myself to use my kid eyes when things seem especially old and dusty. Maybe there’s just something I haven’t seen yet.

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