Friday, September 14, 2018

How Do You See Others?

People don’t seem to realize the power they have to make the world a better place.  Each day can be a new beginning.  Imagine you are walking down the street.  In many cities of America, there are multitudes of people.  They come in all shapes, sizes, colors, and backgrounds.  And unfortunately, many are homeless.  It began with the odd characters many called "hobos".  And decades later, we see more and more homeless.  What is particularly disturbing is the trend has shifted away from these odd characters with the reality of more families becoming homeless. 

So what happens when you encounter different people on your walk around your town?  Are you ruled by fear; wary of every stranger?  Or just the scruffy looking ones?  Are the neatly dressed folks more trustworthy?  It’s really hard to say.  We all have our own criteria, biases, prejudices, and fears.  We use these filters to live and get through each day.  And while I am all for personal safety, I also don’t want to live in dread and fear.  I am mindful of Geothe's words: “The way you see people is the way you treat them, and the way you treat them is what they become.”  . 

Consider this situation created by videographer and social experimenter "Johal".  Person A, a homeless person.  Person B, a man looking for his lost daughter.  Both are seeking help.  What would A ask of B?  What would B ask of A?  What would you do or say if you were cast in their shoes?  Watch this video clip.  Then think of Goethe’s words: “The way you see people is the way you treat them, and the way you treat them is what they become.” 

Teachers in a classroom of youngsters wield tremendous power.  Cloaked in a mantle of authority and supremacy, the very words they utter can move the world.  Words are merely utterances to some, but can also be devastating bombs shattering self-confidence and the world.  Once labeled as a disruptive student, others with little or no contact with that student are predisposed to accept what they hear from “reliable” sources.  Fair is a concept which seems to be a rarity on Earth (depending on the people in your circle). You have the power to make "fair" be less rare in our world. When you consider the state of humanity at this time, it becomes clear how significantly simple words impact our day to day reality. They form what we see, they morph it into something it does not have to become. Take some time to walk down your streets, go to your local "skid row" area or a homeless shelter and take a look at reality looks like for others. Use this experience to teach and live with a compassionate stance so we begin to project compassion instead of prejudice.  

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