“If you just learn a single trick, Scout, you’ll get along a lot better with all kinds of folks. You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view…until you climb around in his skin and walk around in it.” – Atticus Finch in “To Kill A Mockingbird”
This is a tall order, isn’t it? Considering someone’s else point of view? What? That is so not done these days. Instead we spend our time attacking those who disagree with us. Or we call them the enemy. Or we post hateful things about them over and over again. Or we campaign hard to ruin them.
This quote is from “To Kill A Mockingbird,” an amazing book and movie that starred Gregory Peck as Atticus Finch. I just bought a used copy of the book by Harper Lee and very much look forward to reading it. When I finish, I will share my thoughts in a blog on the story, the characters, and what I learn. I am sure that it will be a lot.
Now back to what he is telling his daughter to do. He is saying that she needs to consider others and what their lives have been like. She needs to see the world from their point of view and not just from her own. And, she needs to spend time considering what they have been through. She needs to walk a mile in their shoes.
I long for the days of healthy debate when people would strongly present their case, make their points but without malice or hate, and at the end shake hands and then go have a meal together. I have seen that in a local courtroom, at county commission meetings and at other events. It is possible to be friends with those you disagree with. Well, it can be if people will respectfully disagree.
It would also be possible if we truly did consider what path someone else has been on or what has occurred in their lives to make them sad, to grieve, or to overcome problems and issues. And, to know what makes them tick and makes them happy. Instead, we berate each other, we tease each other, and we call each other horrible names. Sadly, this is happening at the top of our government on down and it needs to stop.
How can we teach our children to behave and respect others when they see our president, congressional officials, and other leaders acting like children and being mean and hateful? Also, people in entertainment and the news also demonstrate intolerant behavior and meanness to those who they don’t agree with. Are we asking more of our kids than we are of our leaders? It is like we are on a childhood playground but it’s the adults goading each other instead of the kids.
I want us as adults to be examples of how to behave and treat others; instead of being warnings of how not to be, how not to treat each other, and how not to act. Who is with me? Who wants to help this change? Who wants to find out about each other instead of making judgements and snap decisions? Who wants to work with me in helping our children learn to be kind to each other and have us learn to do so as well?
I want us and our children to know that we can be friends with those we don’t agree with. We can learn from them if we will only listen. And, they can learn from us as well. We can be respectful and patient, and kind. And, we can remember that just because they don’t agree with us doesn’t mean they are the enemy.
I am saddened to see so much division, so much fighting, so much hate, so much distrust, so much anger, so much violence, and so much ridicule. I instead want to see compromise, honor, respect, trust, peace, kindness, compassion, and love. Is that too much to ask?
(These pictures are clip art in Power Point. One is a scene of the movie and the other a copy of the book cover. Thanks to my friend Reagan for suggesting this quote for my month of quotes.)