Today I had an epiphany. At first I had a hard time spelling “epiphany” correctly, but I had one nonetheless. The great discovery I made is that human eyesight actually improves with age. The younger you are, the more trouble you have seeing things. How do I know this? Read on.
My wife and I have raised two children and now one of the grandchildren is a frequent resident. It’s the latter who has brought back old memories and gotten me to thinking about this eyesight thing. Children do not see a lot of things. I speak from first-hand knowledge. I am not imagining this. The only conclusion I can come to is that a young person’s eyesight must slowly evolve into sharper focus and wider angle as the body matures. I am amazed that doctors and scientists have not discovered this. How short-sighted of them…pun intended. Now, I am sure you are looking for evidence that supports my observations. So, without further ado, here are some examples, after which seeing them, many of you will declare, “My God, he’s absolutely right!”
To begin, children do not see trash. It makes no difference what kind of trash it is or how high it is piled up. It could be food wrappings, spent tissues, particles of potato chips, bits of chewed candy bars or crumpled crayons, etc. Such items, once dispensed or having served their purpose, are invisible to children. They could be piled to the ceiling, strewn on steps and patios, or preventing a door from opening–it makes no difference. Trash can be overflowing in every room of the house. Children do not see this.
Children do not see gooey, sticky things. Maple syrup should be a banned substance for children, or at least not to be used without parental supervision. Children spill maple syrup. Once spilled, they do not see it. Maple syrup could be pooling all over the breakfast table, or coating little fingers and forearms, cheeks and eyebrows. Children cannot see it. In fact, when the syrup bottle is placed on its side, with its lid open (why would it be left in that position anyway?) its contents begin to slowly drool out onto the table top, off the edge and down onto a chair, down the chair leg and eventually onto the floor. Children do not see this.
Children do not see water on the bathroom floor. I am reasonably sure where this water comes from. There are only three sources in the bathroom and all of them have some form of ceramic wall that prevents water from escaping. However, when children are in the bathroom, water can defy gravity. It can rise above the edge of the tub, the sink or the toilet and then puddle up on the bathroom floor. Meanwhile, I have also noticed that children do not dry themselves off before getting out of the tub. In fact, they are careful not to step on the bath mat when they leave the tub. Instead, they step over the mat and then stand on the bare floor so their drippy bodies can drain there. With all these free-flowing fountainheads it is no wonder that they form tributaries that gush downward onto the bathroom floor. Likewise, it is no surprise that an adult who is sitting under the light fixture mounted on the downstairs ceiling under the bathroom may notice water dripping from it. Children, if any are downstairs, do not see this.
And while we are in the bathroom, I have surmised that children, specifically young teenage girls, do not see hair in the bathtub. While young ladies this age are preoccupied with what brand shampoo and conditioner their parents must stock, they are way under-occupied with how much of it they use and how, after rinsing it off, at least a pound of hair is left flowing down, down, down deep into the tub’s drain pipe. Children do not see this. They do not see the plumbing bill either.
Children do not see light switches when the lights are turned on. They definitely know when a room is dark and they can easily detect the location of the light switch at that time. They know how to turn on a light. When they leave the room, however, they don’t see the light switch. The lights are always left on, especially if they intend not to return to the room for some time. Children do not see this. Children do not see the electric bill either.
Children do not see dirty dishes. The kitchen sink has a specific capacity. It will hold so many cubit inches of pots, dishes, glasses, silverware and other miscellaneous utensils. Children do not see when a sink is full of dirty dishes. In fact, children do not see dirty dishes no matter where they are, in the sink or elsewhere. I suspect in homes where there are several children, there are more dirty dishes lying around the house than there are clean ones in the cabinets. There is a contributing factor to this situation. Children do not see the dishes in the dishwasher when they are clean. They do not have the foresight to acknowledge that if someone were to empty the dishwasher, then the dirty dishes in the sink and elsewhere would have a place to go to. While on their portion of the circle of life, children do not see the circle of dishes, regardless if they are clean or dirty.
Children do not see healthy food. They see only unhealthy food. Their eyes can easily focus on a bag of chips or a box of cookies thirty feet away, even though they are behind a big stack of broccoli and carrots. Children do not see broccoli and carrots. If they do, they ignore them or make a disgusting sound. Children may see milk if they want some. I suppose this is one healthy exception to the rule. Children do not, however, see an empty milk carton so it stays in the fridge.
I could go on. No need to. I think I have proved my point. If you have, or have had children and teens running about the house, I am sure you have witnessed these same oversights I speak of. The good news is that most—not all—of these symptoms of poor eyesight appear to disappear as a child reaches adulthood. The improvement is even faster if the adults themselves now have a young child at home. Then too, I am willing to bet that if I were to drop by their home unexpectedly, I would be able to point out just about everything I’ve talked about…sight unseen!