A Matter of Perspective

“Point of view is worth 80 IQ points,” opines Alan Kay, one of the earliest pioneers of personal computing. Perspective provides countless options, kaleidoscopic lenses, and varying filters as we each interpret what we see and what we feel. One of my favorite examples is John Gray’s classic, Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus.

Speaking of the differences between men and women, there is new research that may widen that chasm further as conversations take shape in light of the results of a recent study from the University of Queensland that proclaims the biological clock is ticking not just for women but for men, too!

True. The data shows that the older the sperm at conception (i.e., age of the father), the higher the incidence of autism, schizophrenia, and bipolar disorder. So, indeed, it seems that the 80-point IQ spread may be somewhat literal as well as figurative.

An interesting point of view, especially as the debate rages over possible causes for the dramatic rise in autism. Too many vaccines – or too many birthdays?

In actuality, a woman whose first pregnancy occurs after age 35 may be just as vulnerable as a man over 40 to the higher risks of birth defects. The news, however, certainly does change the conversation for “young” couples who are examining their birds’-eye view of the exact moment in which to swoop into parenthood: that precise instant suspended in time between establishing one’s career and being too old to conceive. Here’s another significant variable, previously discounted for the most part: Will we be hearing about guys speeding up the tempo of their life’s speedometer to fatherhood?

In a society of Alpha Moms and Beta Dads (or the reverse, given your point of view!), is this latest information the time bomb that could put us over the edge, as the scale continues to tip the balance in the world of hothouse parenting – our propensity to engineer our children’s lives for maximum safety, happiness, and control of variables? How does this data influence the discussion around designer babies?

And, how does this new information affect another recent study that reveals that 20 percent of prospective parents are delaying having their first child because of today’s economic situation?

How then do we reconcile that there are DNA “mistakes” with advancing sperm age?

It seems to me that the small boy in “When Dinosaurs Came with Everything” by Elise Broach had the right approach: From his point of view, a very boring errand day is transformed by a promotional campaign in which a dinosaur “comes with everything” – a kid’s dream come true! From Mom’s perspective, it is just another day of visits to the doctor, the bakery, and the barber, while for the boy, a creature comes alive with exuberance.

I think it comes down to this: we need to consider the angle of the vision. Do we have too much information in which to dip our buckets in the ever-flowing stream of knowledge? Are we over-thinking? These studies remind me of the “omniscient point of view” in literature, a perspective that offers a constant danger which can, if unskillfully used, destroy the very illusion of reality which the story attempts to create!

I wonder if it’s not all this information that sometimes stops us in our tracks and causes us to over-think ramifications of our looming decisions. This could be an unintentional byproduct of what has been dubbed “overparenting.” In other words, it’s not the “fault” of parents but the burden of a technological society.

Tuck-in Tips

  • What pretend things might you want to collect while doing errands with Mom or Dad?
  • How do you react when someone doesn’t agree with what you believe?
  • Have you and a friend ever seen the same situation through different eyes?