I have 20/20 vision, but I can confidently say that we all wear some type of lenses every day. Some people carry around two or three different pairs. These lenses are called our paradigm; our perspective on the world and on life. Drew Hart discusses in his book, Trouble I’ve Seen, the need for all people to wrestle with where our opinions have been shaped. One’s context impacts how ideas and perspectives are formed in each of us. “Communities and cultures shape us," says Drew. "These cultures partly shape our values, worldview, and everyday norms and practices.”
My son’s paradigm as a toddler is unique and incredible. He lives in a large metropolis. He has been intentionally exposed to various cultures and experiences. His mother (that’s me) grew up in a monocultural rural context. However, I still had a choice to contribute to my socialization by taking interest in other cultures and places. I chose an educational path that would bring people of all backgrounds into my life. I chose to have meaningful conversations with my colleagues and classmates. I wanted to be intentional about shaping my lenses or paradigm to understand more completely the reality of our world. I thank God (really, I do) for these experiences and relationships. I also thank God that my son will have even more opportunities to shape his paradigm, and be in a better place to more fully experience the world, understand it, and love the people in it. Here’s some insight into the awesomeness behind the development of my toddler’s paradigm.
My son: “I don't know what my buddy on the see-saw is saying, but it sounds cool!"
My interpretation: The world is full of people from different cultures and background that all like to have fun and laugh and kick a ball, just like me.
My son: I love the new game my friend taught me and his snacks are so yummy; I haven’t seen these kind in my house before.
My interpretation: I get to experience food, and activities and music from all around the world.
My son: I am awesome because my mom and dad remind me every day! They tell me the God of the universe made me like I am; that is so cool.
My interpretation: My ethnicity is beautiful and I am confident in who I have been created to be and I want to celebrate my culture and heritage with the world because they will be better off, just like I am better because of the variety in my life. My mom and dad don’t look alike, but that has added this cool variety. When people don’t see that I am beautiful I will know that they are wrong because my mom and dad said so!
My son has some cool shades.