Once there was a man who had been traveling a great distance and stopped to greet an elderly man at the entrance to a village. He asked the elderly man, “What kind of people live in your village?” Before answering the elderly man said, “First, tell me of the people you’ve encountered so far in your travels.” The traveler replied, “I’ve met the worst people. They have been unkind and selfish. I’ve people who are foolish, rude, and lack all hope. I’ve had the worst luck meeting any good people.” The elderly man listened and then spoke, “I believe I know the type of people you speak about and I am sorry to tell you that you find the exact same people in this village.” Upset, the traveler stormed off down the road kicking dirt along the way.
A few hours later another traveler greeted the elderly man at the village entrance. “Excuse me, sir. I have been traveling a long time and am wondering, what kind of people live within this village?” The elderly man replied, “I can tell you that but first tell me about the people you’ve met so far along in your travels.” The traveler responded, “I’ve met the best people. So many have been so kind and generous to me. It’s been amazing. I’ve learned from both young and old. I’ve met people who care for others and it’s been a blessing to meet such great people.” The elderly man smiled and said, “I know of the type of people you talk about and I am happy to tell that is exactly the type of people you’ll find within this village.
The moral of this old western African folktale is what we see in others is determined by what we expect to find. It’s a simple concept, but very deep and powerful. Our word would be a better place if we took the time to understand others first, and look to see the good in all. Too often we let negative thoughts (influenced by what we read, watch, and listen to) influence how we view and treat others.
Before we judge or label others, we must first walk a mile in their shoes.
Everyone, everywhere is fighting some type of battle. Some keep it to themselves, and don’t publicize for all to see. No matter what, all are significant. We must stop referring to others as “them” and start using “us” as a human race. We don’t know why we go through what we go through, but we must have faith.
One thing I’ve learned as a parent is not to be so quick to judge. This can be hard, because of the instant reaction society we live in. But over my four-plus years as a parent I realize I was wrong to previously judge others for what they do or how they handle situations. It’s easy to judge from the outside looking in, but it’s different when you’re going through it. Just remember, we have no idea what other people’s stories are. Walk a mile in their shoes first.
As a society we need to be more conscious of what we say, when we say it, and how we say it. It matters. We all need to show more empathy. It’s the greatest human emotion and one that separates us from all other forms of life. A little empathy would go a long way in making the world a better place.
On this Thanksgiving weekend be thankful for the times that have tested you. It’s here where you find out most about yourself. You find out what you can endure, overcome, and achieve.
Appreciate what you have and who you have to share it with on this holiday. We often fall victim to comparison. We compare our lives and possessions to others and begin to have envy. Take a minute today and think about what you have.
Appreciate it all and remember how you would want them if they were not yours.
From my family to yours,
Have a great Thanksgiving weekend!
Thanks for reading, have a great week, and be an RGP today!