A little perspective on.. perspective

I need another pair of eyes.

I have been thinking about this phrase a lot this week. We use it all the time, whether we are working on a paper at school, sending an important email, or even just looking for a lost item. We want someone else there double-checking our work. We can all agree that it is beneficial to get another perspective. This has been coming up a lot in my life this summer. I have been working on projects ranging from two very different groups of people. Within the fellowship at Huck House my project focuses on young people, and outside the fellowship my work with Age-Friendly Columbus focuses on the aging population. Both of these projects can be complex and multifaceted, often leading me into a series of questions for many different people.

In navigating my way through projects, I have realized that people often give their background or field of study before explaining a reasoning or concept.

“Through a social worker’s mind”

“From the aging lens”

“In the nonprofit world”

“In academia”

All of these begged the question, is there a difference between perspective and lens? Are they interchangeable? Short answer, yes and no. A lens is used to narrow the scope of which a topic can be examined. But, perspective is a point of view, usually influenced by context or a person’s surroundings. Multiple perspectives are situated within a lens.

Is this important? I’d like to think so. No matter what we are working on, we always want another pair of eyes, more perspectives, and more points of view. Other people catch things we don’t; they have their own experiences that could make whatever you are working on better. In turn the more lenses we apply, the more perspectives there are, leading to more people being represented. Examining my projects through various lenses such as, social work, non-profit, aging, and youth lenses help me to create an effective and an inclusive project. It is also important to try and understand the context of all those perspectives. We can’t pick and choose who we listen to. By needing another pair of eyes, we become invested in our communities and people.

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