Look Closer – A Lesson From My Son

By Jonathan Davis

“Look closer and you will see a surprise.” These are the words my son whispered as he convinced me to peer into a microscope focused on a slide labeled “Berry Hair.” I was amazed at what I saw. What looked like a tiny hair to the naked eye actually appeared to be tiny blue and red spikes or stars. We spent the rest of the morning looking closer at all kinds of things, each more surprising than the last. From dragon fly wings to feathers, his microscope never failed to produce something amazing.

In today’s world – with social isolation, Zoom fatigue, anxiety and new daily stresses – we need to try and look closer at those around us. Allow me to explain.

When saying hello or asking someone, “How’s your day going?”, a lot of the time we wait for the programmed response and move on. But when someone says, “I’m good” or simply hello, that may not be the entire story. We need to look closer.

When older people ask follow-up questions like, “What was the best part of your day?” or “What will you do next?”, it gives that older person the opportunity to share wisdom, interest and knowledge that the younger person may not have gotten otherwise. When a younger person asks follow-up questions like, “What do you enjoy about days like this one?” or “Can I assist you with anything today?,” it gives that younger person the opportunity to share time, interest and even physical assistance.

The goal is to continue to connect with those around us. Both young and old, we all have something to offer each other. You might learn something new, maybe help where you didn’t know you could or simply have more than a programmed response to the world around you.

In today’s world, social isolation, Zoom fatigue and anxiety are real things many live with in our community. The next time you greet a loved one – or even a stranger – “look closer,” and the way you connect might be an unexpected surprise.

Jonathan Davis is a community and broker liaison at Health Alliance. Husband and father living in central Illinois! Like this article? Feel free to respond to Thanks for reading!