While we’re on the subject of games that kids play, (see Hide & Seek) “I Spy, with My Little Eye” is another one that gets played quite often.
This one brings out the deep competitive spirit in both of my kids. For those of you who aren’t familiar, one child looks for an object and when he has found it, exclaims “I Spy, With My Little Eye…something green” or some other color and that’s the only clue that she gets. She then looks around for an object matching that clue. If she figures it out, she gets the next turn. If she doesn’t, he goes again.
If they were to play this in the living room or the front yard it would surely keep them occupied for a while. There would be a fair chance of success, because they are in the same place and eternally curious.
However, they do not play this game in the living room or the front yard. Ever. This game is the go-to car-ride game. And they’ve discovered the competitive value of spying things that we pass. This ensures that one child will control the game the entire way home, as the other one doesn’t have a chance to see something we’ve already passed.
“Nope. Do you give up?”
“No! Stop sign!”
“Nope. Do you give up yet?”
It turns out it was a stop sign. One that we passed a mile ago.
They fix their attention on this one object and nothing else matters. More often than not it’s an object in the past. More often than not, the object goes un-guessed and the same kid gets to continue the game. Just about half the time, it leads to uncertainty, conflict and anger.
“It’s not fair.” The mantra of childhood.
They pick some object and it becomes the sole focus of their attention for the next few moments. For the person who is “it,” nothing else matters but that singular object. It’s not always something we passed. It’s not always something outside the car. Sometimes it’s the hazard light button on the dashboard, sometimes it is Mommy’s purse, and sometimes it’s a rogue toy rolling around on the floor.
There’s a world that they ignore as we drive past. They get so focused on this game that we could drive through a tornado in the middle of a UFO-invasion launching ice cream cones and they would have no idea.
They miss so much for the sake of that object, which has so little meaning outside of the 3 minutes of the game. It had been forgotten or ignored up to that point and it will be forgotten and ignored again. But for three minutes, it’s heaven and earth and everything in between.
Do I dwell too long on one tiny thing? Do I let something insignificant and once-forgotten rule over my attention and my time and my thoughts? Do I fail to see the forest because I’m stuck on one leaf of one branch of one tree?
How much perspective do I lose when I do this? Me and my little eyes, always looking down, looking back, looking away.
I am but a child and I don’t understand the things that I see. All too often I think that I understand but then I miss so much. Seeing things from my perspective is not the same as seeing things from His. I want more of that perspective. That perspective must be the object of my time, attention, effort, mind, soul and heart.
It’s a perspective that only knows how to look up, to look forward and to move ahead.
Lord, take these little eyes and show them big things.