Wednesday, December 3, 2014

The Window

Hugh Syme's cover art for Rush's Power Windows
Last summer, when we were on vacation, my son, through a series of events, got into a very bad mood one day. This sent him into a series of negative thoughts until things turned into a conversation about how horrible the world is. He referenced various things in the news; a whole chain of valid observations about how nasty the world and and how nasty people can be.

It so happened that, much to our surprise, construction had begun on the lot across from our rental house. Our kind rental owners had called and explained that they had not known construction was going to begin that week and they had offered us a refund for the second week if we wished to move to another rental property. We stayed and it was fine.

I went up to my son's room, which had a small window that looked out, across the street, onto the construction. When he was at the height of his anger about the world and nothing I said could cheer him up, I said:

"Do me a favor. Look out of that window. What do you see?"

"Trucks," he said, relishing the chance to make his point. "Ugly trucks that are knocking down trees."

"What's on your left?" I asked.

"A wall," he answered.

"How about your right?"

"Another wall."


"Another wall."

"What's beyond the left wall?"

"Trees and woods."

"The right?"

"Trees and woods."

"How about behind us?"


"Just humor me. What's behind us?"

"The lake and the woods and the nature reservation."

"All beautiful stuff, right?"

"Yeah," he said. "So?"

"So, when you look only through this little window, you see only the ugliness of a construction site and you are forgetting the beauty around you. You are forgetting that there is more beauty than ugliness around you and you are letting the ugliness take over your mood."

He seemed to understand. His mood improved.

What is your window?


  1. My window is Facebook, which is why I sit in front of it only a few minutes a week. Every day, though, I see too many people spending too much time in front of that particular window; they get addicted to the ugliness they see, and I suspect their own anger as well.

    1. I suspect that anger makes some feel as if they are doingsomething about it all... It's all such a waste of time. tempting.