2020 Vision vs. 2020 Hindsight

I got glasses when I was in 4th grade. I don’t remember the moment I got them and whether or not I was happy about it. I just know it happened in 4th grade because the plastic school bus that my mom hung on the wall that had all of my annual school pictures in it has me with no glasses in 3rd grade and some glasses in 4th. I’ve had glasses ever since, except for a brief stint from 11th grade to sophomore year of college where I wore contacts…also cataloged by the school bus photo collection.

The second oldest child of my four needed glasses before she was 2 years old. We noticed that she would put her face right up to stuff in order to see it and every time we’d walk more than a few steps away from her she’d cry as if we’d disappeared entirely. After realizing that it was more than just a dramatic baby, we took her to the eye doctor, then a retinal specialist, and came to learn that she’s got healthy retinas, but the most severe nearsightedness/astigmatism combo I’ve ever heard of. If you know anything about prescriptions, how does -15.5 in the left eye and -17 in the right sound to you? That means that without glasses when I’m five feet away from her, I look like this:

So when she got glasses, at 2 months shy of 2 years old, the doctors told us that we should keep an eye on her because kids usually put their glasses down and break them. Well, not this time. For likely the first time in her life she was able to see us, her room, her house, her dog, trees…everything. Never once did she break them, because she never took them off except to go to sleep, and even then she wasn’t happy about it. First thing in the morning every day her first word wasn’t “Dada” or “Mama” but instead…”Gasses”…which I assume meant glasses, unless she could see the air or something.
It shouldn’t have surprised me to find out that our older daughter needed glasses a few years ago, but it did a bit. And it shouldn’t have surprised me to find out that my 8-year-old son AND 6-year-old daughter needed glasses, too, which I learned late in December of 2019. My youngest daughter has the second-worst prescription…-9.75 in her left eye.

Why is it Denis’ Glasses Story Blog Post time? Because analogies rule, and it’s now the year 2020. Everyone in my family needs vision correction.
Me: Myopia and Astigmatisms, both eyes
My wife: Myopia, both eyes
My 15-year-old daughter: Myopia, both eyes
My 13-year-old daughter: Severe Myopia and Severe Astigmatisms, both eyes
My 8-year-old son: Amblyopia, left eye
My 6-year-old daughter: Amblyopia, left eye

We all need vision correction. We all have vision correction for slightly different reasons and for varying severity. Professionals have studied how to fix the problems we have and have given us a range of choices to pick from; glasses, contacts, surgery, eyeball replacement (not this one).
We all look back at the moment we got glasses and have said “how did I ever see without these? The world is so much more clear now.”

I write this blog for teachers and school leaders, so let me ask you teachers and school leaders this:
What’s your vision for your students, your staff, your school? Is it clear? Does it need correction? Is it mildly nearsighted or blurry beyond recognition?
Will you seek vision correction now, heading into the new year, or will you look back at the end of 2020 and say “I should have seen this coming.” Don’t have 2020 Hindsight. Have a clear 2020 Vision.

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