Just the other day my wife and I were looking for a quick breakfast before finishing the last of our Christmas shopping. Cracker Barrel happened to be right on the way. I had not been back to a Cracker Barrel in many years and in fact this was the one that my youngest daughter and I used to frequent for our father daughter breakfast “adventures”. The moment I stepped through the door the memories came flooding back. When she was a young girl, Saturday mornings would often find us seated at our favorite booth ready to enjoy a country breakfast and begin our game of “I Spy”.
For our early trips, “I Spy” would be played with pretty straight forward clues like “I spy a pair of old skis” or “I spy a red sled”. As she grew, the clues became less obvious and more deductive such as “I spy something I would need to ride a horse.” There was no end to the variations and the game stretched breakfast into a most of the morning activity. When we had finished our breakfast, she would beg me to play a game of checkers in the big white rockers they sold to their patrons and also made available for a quick game of checkers. We would seat ourselves by the fireplace and begin our game. The fact that she usually won might have had something to do with my graciousness to let her win but as time went by and thanks to her improving powers of observation, she would begin to win those games on her own merit.
As I said, all of these memories washed back over me and in a moment it was as if I was back there with my daughter soaking in the visual array the walls and ceiling had to offer. As my wife and I enjoyed our breakfast it dawned on me that the game my daughter and I had played was really an alliteration of the importance of observation. All those years, so long ago, our game of “I Spy” was preparing my daughter to be observant. Observant of the people around her, of the environment she would live, play and work in, of the opportunities the world would afford her. This simple game of observation would help her develop into the successful woman she has become.
Observation is something successful people practice every day of their life. Through observation we witness our differences and how those differences can impact our lives in very positive ways. Our individual differences allow us to specialize and to benefit from the specialties of others. In short we both depend on and benefit from each other’s differences. Observation also allows us to see things as they are and then to visualize how they might be made better or to work more efficiently. Observation allows us to recognize the opportunities as they present themselves.
I spy might be a kid’s game but its applications are a life skill. Take time to play the game with your child or grandchild but don’t stop there. Take the time to play the game with yourself. Be amazed with the simple observations you make and then enjoy the feeling as your horizons expand.
“I spy a world of possibilities, can you see them?”