To Considering Another’s Point of View

“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.)



Ethics, Smethics

Playground.4Do ethics still matter or are they something to be set aside when we feel like it.  Are they ethics or ethics smethics?  I think they do matter.  I also think they are important to teach to children.  Yet, many adults no longer seem to feel they are important.  And, that is troubling.

Merriam-Webster’s dictionary defines ethics as:

  • a set of moral principles :  a theory or system of moral values
  • the principles of conduct governing an individual or a group
  • a guiding philosophy
  • a consciousness of moral importance

Wow, some big concepts about how to act, how to treat others, and how to live our lives.  Yet who and what determines our ethics?  I feel that our faiths, morals, and values are a large factor, as well as what we were taught growing up.  Our experiences and our own internal values also are a part.

Treating others as we want to be treated used to be a good gauge of our ethics and morals.  Yet today, we seem to hate, to distrust, and lie to each other without thought or question.  We have leaders who are doing the same.  We seem to not think twice about cutting someone’s feelings to the bone and causing them pain.

We seem to think we are better than each other.  And, some even think they are above the law, above reproach, and above questioning.  Yet, should anyone be exempt from treating someone kindly and fairly and with respect?  Should anyone be above reproach or questioning? I don’t think so.

Is it right and ethical of a political party to not investigate something just because it was allegedly done by the same party?  I think not.  Saying so is turning a blind eye to something that could be very wrong and harmful.

Is it right to hate someone who believes a different religion than we do, or looks different than we do, or has less money than we do, or loves in a way that we don’t understand?  I think not to this as well.

Hate crimes have been going on for years.  I don’t like them and often don’t understand them and I want them to stop.  Unless we can replace this hate and distrust with love and learning to trust, I don’t know how we can change.

Children love without question and without prejudice.  They are taught how to hate, how to distrust, and often how to lie.  They can and should instead be taught how to love, how to trust, and how to know and tell the truth.

A few things I want for us to do:

  • May we learn to be kind to each other
  • May we discern what is right and what is wrong
  • May we not listen to people trying to convince us that lies are the truth
  • May we stand up for what we believe without tearing each other down
  • May we ask questions and seek the truth
  • May we discern what we are being told to believe
  • May we live ethical lives
  • May we teach our children to love
  • May we always love

I wonder if we can be ethical and live with love and respect?  My earnest prayer is that we can.  I know that we can; I just hope that we will.