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  • Matthew Gallagher

Balancing perspective

Part of my role as a school counselor focused on supporting students with academic struggles. They would frequently describe working to improve their grade in one class only to see their grade in another class fall. Students had to learn to manage multiple responsibilities, working not on one class or the other but all classes. This skill is more complicated for some of us because our brains don’t really “multi-task,” we just switch between one focus and another, often motivated by our interests.

This limit of focus creates similar challenges in our everyday conversations. We hear it when someone becomes insistent on a single point when discussing complex issues with the potential for multiple interpretations. Arguments over politics, religion, money (any zero-sum game) can quickly become myopic, making compromise difficult. I was reminded of this concept when someone said they hated hearing “kids are resilient” after I had recently written an article with a similar title. My intention was to emphasize a child’s ability to adapt and the benefit of adults reframing challenges in a positive light. I was reminded that this phrase can also be used to minimize the needs of a child for control and neglect.

Those individuals who are naturally creative or led by their passions have no problem thinking outside the box, but also run the risk of losing focus. Those individuals who desire tradition and clear planning thrive in structure, but also struggle to remain open to discover perspectives not yet considered. Humility reminds us that we all see the world through our own unique perspective and try to meet our needs in whatever way we can.

Life is marked by our process of developing balance...

confident but not arrogant.

cautious but not fearful.

gentle but not timid.

discerning but not cynical.

content but not complacent.

adapting but anchored.

Matthew Gallagher, LCPC

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