OBSERVATIONS · podcast · slice of life

Those Who Seek Beauty Will Find It


See those hanging flower pots baskets on Chocolate Avenue? They're the things that inspired me to try to reframe Isabelle's noticing of the not-so-beautiful into a search for beautiful things we can notice and share with each other.
See those hanging flower pots baskets on Chocolate Avenue? They’re the things that inspired me to try to reframe Isabelle’s noticing of the not-so-beautiful into a search for beautiful things we can notice and share with each other.

Isabelle has been thinking aloud a lot., which is great.  I want to hear what she has to say.  I really do. But I am trying to reframe what she’s talking about.  Why?  Well, that’s because she has a keen eye for spotting and pointing out portable toilets (That’s what she remembers from the concert we took her to on the West Lawn of the Capitol in May. Not the incredible music or the tributes to those who have served our country. Nope, she remembers the portable toilets she saw.) and trash on the ground (Ever since Earth Day she’s been agahast whenever she sees litter.)!  I bet you’d be a little frustrated if your child was constantly pointing these things out, wouldn’t you?

This afternoon I decided enough was enough.  I embarked upon a new motto, “seek beauty,” when we’re out and about.  It’s very simple. Look for things that are beautiful in the world. Notice those. Share it with the other person.
Here’s a listen to our first conversation about seeking beauty. (NOTE: I hit record when we were in dead-stop traffic. I pulled over to the side of the road to end the recording.)

American Flags. Flowers. Houses. Now those are things worth noticing.  I still heard about one more portable toilet (which I ignored) on the way home. And she did point out some rubbish on the ground, which appalled her.  But she also noticed more pretty flowers and a neighbor’s American flag on the ride home.  So maybe, just maybe, I’ll talk her into this seek beauty thing after all.

Head over to http://twowritingteachers.wordpress.com  for more slices of life.
Head over to http://twowritingteachers.wordpress.com for more slices of life.

22 thoughts on “Those Who Seek Beauty Will Find It

  1. I laughed out aloud when she said that port-a-potties are beautiful. And I agree with Fran that sometimes a port-a-potty can be a thing of beauty! I love how she eventually comes around. My boys were totally fixated on motorcycles for a while and that’s all we could talk about!

  2. I’m with Isabelle… a port-a-potty when you need it is a beautiful thing!! I am a runner and truly appreciate a well positioned, clean port-a-potty! This is one funny post!! I think she has a strong opinion and is ready to begin her counter-argument with you!! She is a joy.

  3. I love hearing her voice! She is so funny and, as so many have offered, a port-a-potty is quite wonderful when needed!

    Regardless of one’s opinion on the merits of port-a -potties, it’s an excellent idea to seek beauty! We all need to do this from time to time.

  4. I love that you are teaching Isabelle to seek beauty and your conversation is so precious. I think this is such an important message. My mind went to myself and the need to not pick out all the physical flaws but instead focus on the beauty in my life and myself. Good reminder that beauty is in the eye of the beholder!

  5. You can only find it if you look for “it.: PS I love her voice. Such wonderful innocence and joy from all your hard work.

  6. It’s always great to hear Isabelle & what she has to say, Stacey, even about port-a-potties! Young kids are so silly, without even knowing it most of the time. Imi continues to say she is a teacher, part of her name. They haven’t had much luck stopping it, so decided to just let it go away. I love your idea of looking for beauty. Time for a field journal?

  7. Isabelle and Lily would be fast friends. What Lily loves more than anything in this world right now is potty humor and disgusting things. She would love to discuss port-a-potties anytime. I totally understand the need/pressure/desire to redirect those conversations. When we’re just hanging out at home we try to just ignore it, not make a big deal about it. But then, without fail, she’ll wait for when she has a captive audience of great grandparents to sing an impromptu song about going potty, or undies, or boogers, or her new favorite topic: “eyeball grit.” I’m not kidding. That’s what she calls it, and she works it into every conversation.

  8. I love this post, Stacey. The audio is great and your conversation with her is an example of teaching for good. Noticing the beauty around us…a good thing for each of us to practice.

  9. Oh Stacey – that girl – she is amazing!! You are trying to change the focus and you were pretty successful – but she is FASCINATED! She is fascinated with those Port-a-Potties!!! I love that about her! Don’t muffle her wonder. Celebrate it! That’s what makes her so wonderful!

  10. I love how this conversation came about … funny and all. (I know you don’t think so, but …) Hmmm. The images are strong as I read your slice. Sounds like an idea for a PB! A thing of beauty!

  11. One of our kindergarten classes this year started an investigation with the provocation: What is beautiful? They made up their own definition and then found things at school or at home to share that they thought were beautiful. They were not allowed to go buy something. It had to be something found. They did a lot of great writing and sharing around this topic and their bulletin board in the hall continued to grow for a month as they added photos of themselves and their beautiful things, and writing about their beautiful things. I was fascinated to see what they thought was beautiful. The standard things (glitter, flowers, rocks) were represented, but so were some off-beat things (bottle caps, and I can’t remember what else.) When I had initially started my mental list of beautiful things, it was quit different from what they were choosing. It’s so funny to me that she is choosing port-a-potties! When we go to soccer on Wednesday nights, my son (3 years old next month!) wants to spend time exploring them. I have to drag him away to find something a little less dirty and weird, but at the same time I don’t want to turn him off because there were likely come a day when he needs one and I don’t want him to refuse to go in. Parenting is such a balance!

    PS: Isabelle’s speech is really clear these days! Her hard work is really paying off!

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