A friend of mine said once upon receiving a compliment on a particularly stunning photograph her husband had taken of her, “It helps when the person behind the camera loves you.”

Does it?  The skeptic in me sneers and says the camera’s a machine, and does its own thing.  That someone else in that same moment could have captured that same image without any love for the subject.

But then I’ve seen photographers capture astonishing beauty and ugliness that were only evident in the photograph.  And so I have to say that I think the way a person looks at something can alter it, can bring out that which might otherwise remain invisible, silent, unrealized.

If so, we’re wise to recognize that our eyes work just like cameras this way.  When we’re looking at children with doubt or worry about their progress, we’ll likely draw out more cause for it, or at the very least drive up the same fear in them.  When we’re looking for brilliance, for kernels of promise and inspiration, that’s what we’ll see, because it’s always always there somewhere. And in so doing we’ll show kids what’s possible beyond what already is.