Sunday, September 25, 2011

Can YOU Get Along with All Kinds of Folks?

If you just learn a single trick, Scout, you'll get along a lot better with all kinds of folks. You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view... Until you climb inside of his skin and walk around in it. Harper Lee in To Kill a Mockingbird

I think I need to go for a walk. And I don’t mean just any kind of walk. I need to climb inside someone’s skin and walk around in it. I would like to think that racism and other forms of human degradation have vanished from existence in the post-modern world in which we find ourselves. But that is not true. I know that our fallen human nature causes us to gravitate toward an attitude of disdain for anyone that seems different. And that is why I need to take a walk.

Yesterday I saw the classic book To Kill a Mockingbird written by Harper Lee in 1960 presented on stage at Ft. Worth’s Casa Manana Theater. The characters are memorable and the message is timeless. The story of course revolves around racism in the 1930’s. But I found my own heart convicted as I listened to the compelling dialogue on stage yesterday. I too make assumptions about people without sufficient evidence. I too can be intolerant and judgmental.

I am taking the advice that Atticus doled out for Scout’s benefit seriously. In a purposed way, I am striving to consider things from someone else’s point of view.  That takes a conscious effort. It is no easy process. I tend to see things one way: my way! And that does very little to help me to get along better with all kinds of folks that I am privileged to encounter.

I am going to take regular walks from this point forward. I plan to crawl inside the skin of people whose life experiences may very well be completely different from mine. I wonder what I will observe during such walks. There is no telling what I may learn. Some of these walks may even have some treacherous paths. But I am still committed to completing the journey, because I know the consequences of inactivity. Failure to take such walks leads to bigotry and foolish assumptions.

And I really want to get along better with all kinds of folks…

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