Some phrases stick with you for years.
One such phrase is something my legendary design professor said in class about 20 years ago. Of course, this is the only piece of memory I have from that class of his, but this is what counts, no?
So what was that phrase that ended up being carved into my mind? He said: “Always look at the details because every little detail has a reason”.
It does sound very simple but it took me a very long time to train my mind again to notice the details in the world around me. I say again because I believe young children are very observant of details. As they grow, and as they are being flooded with more and more visual information, they simply learn to process the whole picture quickly and ignore the small and “insignificant” details.
Let me tell you about my youngest son who is nearly five years old. We walk up to school every morning. It is only a 5 minutes walk on the same road, passing the same houses, the same trees and often, the same cars in the driveways. But every day, my son will notice something new on our way. It could be a little bug carrying a bread crumb in its mouth, a leaf that changed it colour from emerald green to golden yellow, or the man who cleans the leaves from the street (“Look Mummy! It is the same man but his broom is new.”).
We actually spend the past weeks looking at a Virginia Creeper climbing vine noticing how its leaves turn their colours from an ochreous yellow to a cloudy purple to a brilliant scarlet. Two weeks. Same vine. And still, it looked totally different every day.
Let the children be a good reminder to us that the same road can carry many different opportunities and surprises.
All we need is to look for the details.