Thursday, October 2, 2008


When you meet someone new, boy or girl, do you judge by character or by appearance? If we are honest, we must admit that more often than not, our judgements on people are based on appearance.

When I was a senior in high school, I had my own clique I hung out with. I shared several classes with two girls that I never gave the time of day. They were brainy, goody-goody types. I judged these two girls to be not my type, didn't bother to get to know them, they weren't like the others in my social clique.

I sat directly behind one and to the side of the other. From time to time we had to work together, in a group. By the time the school year was coming to a close, it finally dawned on me, both of these girls had a terrific sense of humor. They were smart, funny girls. They were not the most stylish or trendiest girls but I could tell they were headed for success. So as my last days of high school sped by, I had a mature thought, quit looking at appearances and look at a person's character. By the end of May that year, I told both of them that I wished I had gotten to know them better. And I meant it. I felt like I had missed out by not getting to know these girls earlier in the year and I vowed to try to not let that happen again.

How many people do you disregard right off the bat before you even know anything about them? Do you ever look at a person's character? What do your friends look like? Are they all carbon copies of you?

One thing I realized about most of us, we want everyone to be JUST LIKE US. We want people to agree with our opinions. We feel most comfortable with people who look just like us, think like us, act like us. But it is worth it to look beyond our own little group to get to know people who are different from us.

Different religions, different nationalities, different political parties, different races, different languages, different cultures, even different sexual orientation can widen our horizons and help us to understand new ways of thinking. Sometimes when we look beyond the surface appearance, we can learn to appreciate the differences and at the same time recognize similar character traits that all humans share.

So today, try this experiment. Pick an interesting person out of one of your classes that you would never have spoken to in the past and start a conversation. Smile, be friendly, be natural, but don't be judgemental. You may be surprised at what you find.

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