Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Don't Judge a Book By Its Cover

It's been a while since I've posted anything on this blog so today I'd like to write about judging. I have noticed that many people are guilty of profiling, pre-judging, and not giving things a fair shake in many areas of life. I am frequently guilty of this too. I have never eaten lobster, crab, calamari, oysters, snails, etc. because I am too smart to put any of that crap in my mouth.  I understand what Doctor Seuss was trying to teach with "Green Eggs and Ham", but seriously have you seen and smelled sea food?

That also reminds me of the first time I came across the book "Atlas Shrugged" and couldn't believe it had over 1,000 pages and no pictures. I told myself there was no way I was going to read a book like that and that I would wait for the movie to come out. When the movie finally did come out years later it was only mediocre at best. I guess I not only judged the book but the movie too.

Even though I am often guilty of it, I believe we should not jump to judgement without getting all the facts. One thing that sickens me is when I read a news story online and it is followed by all of the armchair quarterbacks who quickly condemn the accused with comments like "string them up" or "they should not be allowed to have children". I certainly believe justice needs to be done when people do bad things but we need to wait until we have given someone a fair trial and gotten all the facts.

Years ago I heard one of my kids scream and cry in another room. I ran into my boy's room and saw the smaller brother on the ground crying and the bigger brother holding a large stick which he had been using as a play sword. I immediately grabbed it from him and broke it over my knee. I later found out that the younger brother just hurt himself jumping off his bed. The older brother had just come in the room to see what happened right before I got there. Because I made a likely assumption I dished out punishment by breaking his sword when it was not deserved.

When I worked in retail I heard many stories of wealthy people who didn't look the part and were treated poorly and not taken seriously by salesmen due to their appearance. I love hearing how they later come back and pay cash for a truck or other large purchase and make sure a different sales associate or dealership that treats them right gets the commission and their business.

One of my favorite quotes is from Deter Uchdorf when he told about a bumper sticker he saw that said "Don't judge me because I sin differently than you." It is true that nobody is perfect and we don't need self-righteous people making unfair judgement. We obviously shouldn't jump to conclusions or have knee jerk reactions when it comes to judging but there is obviously a time and a place to judge.

Some people tell us we should never judge others. I don't think those people realize all that entails. I would ask any married person why they chose their spouse over the many other candidates they have known or dated over the years? Wasn't that judgmental to pick one person over all of the others? Are you going to vote in November? You probably made some judgement calls when it comes to choosing a political party to affiliate with and when it comes to electing your leaders.

I recently heard a friend share an interesting experience he had when he was working as an attorney at the county courthouse. He said he ran into a man in the lobby who was headed into court and was wearing a dirty tank top and casual clothes. In an effort to help the guy out he suggested he would have more success if he changed clothes before he go before the judge. The guy flipped out and said it was ridiculous if he was going to be judged by his appearance. He then proceeded to ask my friend some additional questions about the court proceedings. My friend asked him "what makes you think I would know that?" the guy in the tank top said well you are obviously an attorney and have more experience than I do. When asked how he knew he was an attorney he said he could tell from the way he was dressed. My friend said "so it's okay for you to make assumptions and judge me on my appearance but not for a judge to do so with you?"- Touche!

I'm just rambling on now but I thought it would be appropriate to remind everyone that 1) We shouldn't rush to judgement or judge people strictly on appearance, and 2) there are times to judge in life and it's important for us to be responsible and wise when we are required to make those judgement calls.