Submitted by John Lepore
Counselors in training are urged to develop a ‘middle ear’ in their practice of helping clients. Too often a client will spend his hour dancing around the subject that brought him to counseling. Counselors with a ‘middle ear’ pick up on the real troubling issue and move on from there.
Just as a counselor needs a ‘middle ear’, all of us need a middle eye to see through the fog of political turmoil, false advertising etc. of those trying to convert us to their way of thinking. Never before have we needed 20-20 vision of what is going on around us. We need to see things as they are, and then how they should be.
Over the years, we older adults have developed a cataract over our middle eye giving us a jaded view of the world. And, so it is that the young must lead our society toward true and better solutions to the problems surrounding us and our country.
People do try to help the young develop a middle eye. Schools demand their teens to do hours of community service before they graduate – a small step in the right direction. Almost weekly in the pages of the Coronado Eagle we see photos of young children working toward helping the poor and disabled with lemonade stand sales, selling cookies, etc. At first I thought they were clever photo opportunities for distant relatives, but no, I came to realize that those children were developing a middle eye that sees a good cause and work toward helping people less fortunate than themselves.
Melania Trump and her drive to end bullying in our schools is seeing with her middle eye, a cause that cries for justice. Too often schools put bullying on a back burner while protecting their kids from gun violence. But bullying in a way is the bloodless murder of youngsters who are somewhat different from the norm. My wife told me of a young bullied student at her high school, who was saved from misery when the school’s football captain sat with the lad at every lunch period and raised his image. That football player had a middle eye.
Others that help form the vision of children are pastors who send them to the missions to experience real poverty; teachers and coaches who see kids without lunch money, the ‘right clothes’, sub- par gym gear and refuse to close their eyes to a desperate need, stepping up to change that dynamic. All have a middle eye.
Some children have an innate middle eye but I suspect most get them from their parents. As the schoolteacher for the King of Siam tells us, “You have to be carefully taught “ to see the good and the bad. You can’t give what you don’t have, so parents have to be the enabling prime source of developing a discerning child with a middle eye.
Today, older teens have a crippling schedule of studies, athletics and part-time jobs leading to what they hope will be the right college and career. Sadly some can’t see beyond their noses. They can’t distinguish Yahoo from Yemen, perhaps the worst catastrophe of their time. Others see being a financial mogul the great goal of life, despite running the risk of knowing the price of everything, and the value of nothing!
So, lucky those students who can laugh at the foolhardiness of classmates, yet weep at the manifest pain and suffering around them and across the globe. Lucky the teens who can smile at presidential ‘tweets’ and separate the truth from the trash. And in the end, lucky the graduates who will someday labor in a worthy endeavor, a cause greater than themselves.
Perhaps in the New Year we can all sharpen the vision of our middle eye to the benefit of others and ourselves.