You are all probably tired of hearing from me this week, but I had a moment of self reflection that I would like to share. Let me start off by saying I believe we don't give ourselves or others a chance to admit when we have made mistakes in judgement. Sometimes our visceral reactions are faulty and just knee-jerk impulses based on previous biases. We should be willing to admit this and allow for time to reflect and change our minds.
I had an instance of this occur yesterday. After attending my great uncle's funeral, the guests went out for a meal to gather and celebrate the life that had passed. I was amongst a gathering of my family and some of his friends, some whom I had never met before. One of these individuals that I struck a conversation with was someone who had worked with my uncle in a charitable organization working to help those without homes. This fellow had dedicated his life to such charitable work. It was clear that he was a kind soul with a good heart and intentions. Moreover, he had brought joy to be uncle’s life as a friend, and that is certainly nothing to be discounted.
Before I left the lunch, we exchanged information and he gave me his business card. On my way home, I checked out one of the websites listed on it, which led me to realize he was the founder of an organization that held very different political views than I hold, specifically with regard to abortion. Once discovering this, my thoughts became extremely dismissive of this individual. I was prepared to write him off completely. In the very least, my entire opinion of him changed on a dime because of a two minute internet search. I immediately showed other members of my family and scoffed.
I was wrong to do this. Although I do genuinely disagree with what the organization was saying in regards to women’s decision to have an abortion, the organization, for its purposes, was trying to offer help. Moreover, none of this should take away from the aforementioned facts that this man had dedicated his life to charity and was a good friend to a member of my family. His views on this one topic should not be the end all to be all. I should be willing to at least have a discussion about the issue, or willing to disagree and allow for this to be just one part of him.
We all come from a different background that is clouded by our own biases and experiences. More often than not, we are too judgmental of others based on their viewpoints on an issue, simply because this is our human, knee jerk reaction. I would like to get better at this, and I am hoping others around me are too.
This can be extended into the political world as well. We should be willing to accept the fact that as humans, our initial thoughts and responses are sometimes too quick to the draw. I believe it demonstrates leadership for someone to admit that they were initially wrong, but they have thought about an issue more and come to a more thought-out conclusion. Often, in our sound bite nation, we do not give our political leaders this opportunity.
I am not saying that all actions should be written off or that anyone gets a pass. However, reflection on our initial reactions is critical. We should give each other the space to do this, and be willing to admit when we ourselves were wrong.
Okay, that is all for tonight. Thank you for giving me the space to learn and grow.