My kids marvel at the Sound of Music song, ‘How do you solve a problem like Maria’. First of all, poor old Maria is called a DEMON and to be called a problem, well, it is inconceivable to my wide eyed youngsters.

I think it is all about control. If someone doesn’t fit into a box, if they don’t conform, well they are a problem to be solved, to be changed. Ah ha! Conflict inevitably arises and there is never a tidy outcome in these situations.

And so Maria departs. She knows she is different but she desperately wants to stay. However, she is sent away to find her inner nun, to become sensible and self-controlled. Little do the sisters know, that Maria is Maria and no amount of life experience will ever changed that fact. Thank goodness.

Maria finds her place in a group of children. She is tested and fails and succeeds and stays! She has a heart of gold, a sense of fun which stems from her unique perspective on life. I love that she makes mistakes along the way. She is a child at heart with a strong sense of justice and an infectious love of life.

Generally, people are too quick to label others. Knowing people takes time and requires deep investigation into what lies beneath. It is fascinating. As a mother I love searching the layers of my children’s personalities. Sometimes they drive me crazy (when I’m in a nun mood) and I don’t get them. But when I take the time to look with my inner binoculars, I see more richly, deeply and honestly than I ever have before. My mother-in-law has a beautiful thing she says to all the kids, “I see!” I assume she is saying she sees them warts and all and loves them forever!

I have learned not to judge on rumour or appearances. Still learning, I must say. I have found that if you keep your distance from characters, you often  miss out on the best people. There are always stories behind behaviours or even facial expressions. It is the art of the inner binocular that gives you the ability to see the heart of the ‘problem’. And to realise that they aren’t to be solved, but accepted warts, songs, weirdness and all!

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