Problem or Opportunity?
‘Jay shares thoughts on the value of finding perspective and shares a couple practical tips on how to ‘adjust the lens’ when confronting a challenge or difficult situation.’
It all depends on how you look at it. And it’s so true. We are all faced with problems in our lives.
But it’s how we view those problems that makes all the difference. Do we find ourselves overwhelmed? Or do we adjust our lens, refocus our view and take a different perspective? There is a power in taking a step back, taking a moment and finding a way to reframe. To see the challenge as an opportunity; to see the struggle as a pathway; to see sunshine where otherwise we might see clouds; finding empathy for others when starting as adversaries.
Rolling! Action! Cut! We’re probably all familiar with these filmmaking terms that have made their way into our everyday vocabulary. But there’s a lesser- known phrase that filmmakers use to describe an image that allows the audience to see things from a different perspective than perhaps the character on screen is seeing. It’s a compositional technique called a ‘frame within a frame.’ From a technical perspective, it’s using visual elements within a frame to make a specific shot visually compelling. From a storytelling perspective, it’s used to create connections between the audience and the characters and quite literally frame how they interact with the world. It’s used to build empathy for a protagonist, or dislike for an antagonist. But most importantly, a frame within a frame allows the audience to see things from the perspective of another. It’s a technique that some directors and screenwriters refer to as ‘the connector,’ creating empathy in spaces where it may not have existed before.
Yet why is creating empathy on screen so important? And how does it have a real-life application? It’s fair to say, empathy has become a bit of a zeitgeist within our vernacular these days, and while we may think it’s just a fuzzy feel-good word of the moment, there’s real power in what empathy can create. As the writer Roman Krznaric states “empathy is, in fact, an ideal that has the power both to transform our lives and to bring about fundamental social change.” When we take a moment to not only see things from the perspective of others, but understand and share the feelings, perspectives, and experiences of others, we can establish meaningful connections with those around us. And with those connections, we find common ground that can create positive momentum that leads to positive change. Empathy goes beyond sympathy, which is simply acknowledging another person's feelings.
I’m reminded of the story of man named Clairborne Ellis who was born into poverty right before the Great Depression in 1927. His father lost his job following the crash of 1929 and, finding it hard to put food on the table, his resentment turned towards African Americans as being the source of all his trouble and joined the KKK. Following his father’s death, Clairborne ended up following in his father’s footsteps, eventually becoming the leader of his local KKK branch. But this all changed one day in 1971, when he was invited to a series of community meetings about tackling racial tensions in schools. Thinking he was simply going to shoot down any calls for easing the tensions that were still being caused by full integration across American schools at that time, he was shocked when the woman he was meant to partner with was an African American woman named Ann Atwater whom he claimed he “despised”. Yet the more he listened to Ann, the more he realized they shared many of the same problems as two individuals born into poverty. As he said, “I finally began to empathize with her pain and see her as a human being. It was like being born again.” On the last and final meeting, he tore up his membership card to the KKK in front of the whole town of a few thousand people and later became a labor organizer for a union with over 70 percent African American membership. He and Ann would be friends for the rest of their lives.
It’s easy for us to dismiss, even at times dehumanize those we may disagree with or who we feel with odds at. But when we frame things differently, when we make the effort to see the whole picture, we can overcome a lot and be better off for it, as we saw in the case of Ann and Clairborne.
Library Arts Center – Artistic Inspiration in a Small Town!
You might not think of a small town on the west side of NH as an epicenter of a thriving arts center where locals, from talented artists to local school children, share their creations with the public. However, that’s precisely the case in beautiful, Newport, New Hampshire.
A great friend of the Sunshine Initiative, the Newport Library Arts Center’s goal is to educate, interact with, and include the community in the enjoyment and deeper understanding of art. When it comes to art, the Library Arts Center is open to a wide variety of displays and mediums, ranging from the Annual PEEPS Diorama Contest, which brings in visitors from around the region to their center to enjoy unique and fun creations of the sugary treats, to the restoration of a local mural by a local artist. Located in the area adjacent to the Newport Richards Free Library, the charming Center is home to a multitude of exhibits, classes, and performances.
And, hats off to Executive Director Kate Luppold, who along with Fran Huot, and the Library Arts Center team, organize and manage nearly two hundred events each year at this incredibly active and vibrant location.
There is an art form for presenting art to the public, just as there are many views one can take of the artwork. For example, in the eye of the beholder, pictures and abstract sculptures may have different meanings and invoke an emotional or sentimental value to either the piece's creator or the center's patron. The Center aims to provide a location that gives artists a place to display their work and for the public to be enriched by it.
No matter how you look at art, if you make your way to Newport, be sure to drop by the Newport Library Arts Center or check them out at libraryartscenter.org.
Ben Franklin – Bifocals, Adjustable Spectacles and More…
Benjamin Franklin's dogged journey in developing innovations in eyeglasses illustrates the tenacity of this ingenious man in overcoming obstacles and refining his inventions. In the early 18th century, eyeglasses were cumbersome and uncomfortable, often requiring individuals to own multiple pair for their various vision needs. Franklin recognized the need for a solution that could offer flexibility and convenience while improving visual clarity. Undeterred by setbacks, he dedicated years of meticulous research and experimentation to revolutionize eyeglass design.
Franklin's breakthrough innovation was the invention of bifocals in 1784. Combining both near and far-sighted prescriptions into a single lens, bifocals allowed individuals with multiple vision impairments to rely on a single pairs of glasses. This pioneering advancement provided enhanced convenience and transformed the eyewear industry. Even today, bifocals remain an essential tool for countless individuals who require different focal lengths.
In addition to bifocals, Franklin also played a significant role in developing the concept of adjustable spectacles. He devised a mechanism that allowed wearers to change the angle of the lens, catering to individual vision needs. This ingenious invention revolutionized the eyewear industry by providing a customizable solution that could adapt to changing eyesight requirements over time. A big thanks to Benjamin for his ability ‘to see’ the needs of others and take action - ultimately helping millions and millions of people!
Positive Profile of the Week: Greg Kretschmar
This week we are delighted to highlight a friend and well-known personality who is an expert in the art of photography – Greg Kretschmar – a man who deeply understands what it means to ‘adjust the lens’ – from the perspective of the camera.
If you tune in to the radio on occasion, you’ve most likely heard of Greg and the Morning Buzz. Since 1987, Greg has been a radio legend and the backbone of the WHEB radio station. His personality and dedication on and off the air has resulted in a radio following that is second to none. But what does Greg do when he is off the air? Greg goes behind the lens and is a remarkable landscape photographer.
What started as a hobby in 2008 has become a passion. Following a family member’s illness, Greg said on his website "In the months that followed, I started using my camera as a way of dealing with the stress of what we went through. For me, it was my way of stopping and taking time to actually "smell the roses.”
His photography is unmatched and truly brings out the best of New Hampshire. But it’s what he does with his photography that is amazing.
For those who follow Greg, you know his commitment to the community. He's been a guest coach for the Battle of the Badges hockey game to support the Children’s Hospital at Dartmouth, he advocates for veterans across the region, and he is a leader in the ‘Lend a Helping Can Charity’ that raises hundreds of thousands of dollars each year to support organizations across the Granite state.
Greg donates photography classes and his own work to help these causes. I know this firsthand. In 2019, Greg donated an astounding Flying Eagle Photo to our passion project - Children of Fallen Patriots. We used that generous gift as our award and today it is proudly shown in the office of a well-deserved patriot.
To put life into focus is truly incredible. To see the opportunity to do good is remarkable. To incorporate passion into a chance to change lives is truly inspiring. Greg Kretschmar is a living legend and someone we should all “focus” on and learn from because he truly lives the meaning of ‘Community Spirit.’
I invite you to learn more about Greg’s work by tuning in to Rock 101 of WHEB on weekday mornings or by visiting his photography website at www.kretchy.com Thank you, Greg, for all you do!
Quotes of the Week: Adjusting the Lens
"The quality of our life is determined not by what happens to us, but by how we interpret what happens to us." - Brian Tracy
"The greatest discovery of my generation is that a human being can alter his life by altering his attitudes of mind." - William James "Your perspective is always limited by how much you know. Expand your knowledge and you will transform your mind." - Bruce Lipton "When one door of happiness closes, another opens; but often we look so long at the closed door that we do not see the one which has been opened for us." - Helen Keller "The same boiling water that softens the potato hardens the egg. It's about what you're made of, not the circumstances." - Unknown