by Danielle N. Hall
If you’re anything like me, you’ve probably window shopped at least once or twice in your life. I’ve seen some display items that were appealing, and others not so much. I must say that I may have even unfairly estimated how good a store was based on what I could see from the outside.
The truth is, this type of bias is also applicable to our perspectives when it comes to people. When we are outsiders looking in, what we can view is limited.
You can observe a person’s behavior, but you can not fully perceive who they are based on that limited view. It’s when you are granted access to what’s inside that you can better estimate or deduce…even then, the perception may be skewed based on your personal experiences. Here’s a light example: if you were to look through my living room window and see that there are multiple video game consoles, you might deduce that playing video games is a regular activity of choice for our household. However, it is rare that we all engage in that activity.
How about this for a better example: today after dropping my sons off at cadet camp on my way to work, I observed what appeared to be a conflict between mother and son. I only briefly heard part of the exchange, but I would soon find out that she was requesting him to remove his earring and give it to her. I was getting ready to pull off, but from my rear view mirror I saw her pretty much chasing him. I parked and got out of the car to try to peacefully intervene. When I approached them, I began speaking to the young man and his mom. He said “No one will ever listen to me.” I told him that I was willing to hear what he had to say, but I also helped him understand the importance of being respectful. She then mentioned that she was going to go sign him in. While his mom was inside I continued to communicate with him. He expressed that she had previously permitted him to wear the earring so it was upsetting that she changed her position on today. She returned to where we were and perhaps the corporal asked about the young man and he then came outside. We all talked and then the corporal stepped away with the young man. It was at this time that the mom disclosed to me that he was adopted. She said she had him since he was 9 days old. She mentioned that he lacks for nothing and that the family had just returned from a nice vacation. She said that he just likes to have his way and he just doesn’t like when she tells him what to do. I mentioned to her that it may be possible that he has resentment towards his birth mother that manifests in defiance towards her. I’m an outsider looking in, so I really can’t say…but I took that moment to enlighten her that there may be something deep rooted within that she can’t see from the outside. I asked if it was ok for me to pray with him, she agreed and I did. Before I left, he walked over to her and hugged her. Those doggone allergies started getting the best of me 😊. I told her I would be praying for them both and I did just that when I got back in my car.
I shared this experience to encourage you to not make concrete assumptions from the outsider’s position. That isn’t always a great vantage point. If you’re in a home and you look OUT of a window, chances are you would see more than if you were on the outside peering IN. Be open minded.
I leave you with this final thought:
“The eye sees only what the mind is prepared to comprehend.” – Robertson Davies