Fibro fog, pain, writing sandwiched in between. Quotes. Sermon notes. Encouragement.
|Perspective, Perception: I see the world from my eyes; you see the world from yours
by Marilyn Mackenzie
What we see is clouded or enhanced by our life experiences, by where we've lived (and, perhaps how many places we've lived).
What we see is influenced by our parents and their parenting, by our extended families, by our friends, our neighbors and our teachers.
What we see is influenced by our level of education, by the kinds of jobs we've held, by whether or not we are creative individuals (craftsmen, artists, writers) and by whether or not we have managed or owned our own companies.
And, what we see is influenced by our faith or lack thereof.
I thought about perception when I attended my 40th high school class reunion.
From kindergarten through 9th grade, I lived in area that was predominantly white and middle-class.
The first neighborhood in which I lived had been a rural farm area, but when we moved in, farms were being sold and blue-collar workers were moving in. My father was one of those blue-collar workers, and a union member. (And my disdain for unions stems from the treatment he received as a worker and as a retiree from that union, as well as experiences of friends and other relatives, and treatment I received in the only job I ever had that was unionized. But all of that is another story.)
I was in the 6th grade when the first black family moved into our neighborhood. And I remember hearing the father of one of my friends ranting and raving to his wife behind closed doors that having "that family" in the neighborhood would make the values of everyone's property go down.
My friends and I - there were about 8-10 of us in our motley crew - thought his comment was absurd. How in the world could having a family with a doctor and nurse as head of household bring property values down? Surely, having professionals arrive in the neighborhood of farmers and blue-collar workers should increase property values, right? (We had no idea that there were some adults who thought that skin color would de-value properties.)
Although we lived in a different house and neighborhood in my junior high years, I attended the same schools. There were 2 or 3 black families in the school district by then.
Then when I reached high school age, we moved back into the city and I attended a school with a much higher number of African-American students.
What I learned at my 40th class reunion was how differently we perceived the student population ratio.
As one who had been raised in a predominantly white area in early life, and because of the street where I lived in high school, I believed that our school had a ratio of 60% white to 40% black (with a few other people sprinkled in here and there, but no great numbers). Note: On the street where I lived in high school, white families lived at the top 1/3 of the street, black families lived in the middle 1/3 and whites lived in the lower 1/3 of the street.
I learned from some of my black classmates, many of whom lived in predominantly black neighborhoods - with some of them living in areas that required them to take 2-3 buses to get to school - that they perceived our school as being about 85-90% white and 10-15% black.
And I learned from some of my white classmates - the ones who had always lived in neighborhoods with different races - that they perceived the numbers to be more like 70% white to 30% black.
Interesting, isn't it? What we saw was affected by our own race and our own experiences. And so it is today in all that we do, don't you think?
Whether we like it or not, what we see is clouded or enhanced by our own life experiences. What is important is that we realize that what we perceive may not be the truth. And what the other guy perceives may also not be the truth. The truth - the real truth - may be somewhere between the two.
And, what frustrates me more than anything is a person who will not even consider that what he/she thinks might be wrong or that what he/she has seen in his/her neighborhood may not actually be happening anywhere else in the country.
Believing that the entire country is like your own backyard, is why we end up with laws being forced upon an entire country, when the problem was better solved locally.
Believing that everyone who looks a certain way acts in a certain way prevents us from learning the true value of each individual.
Each one of us is unique. Each one of us has talents and gifts given to us by God and developed on our own (or not) so that we have something to offer the world.
And each one of us has eyes clouded by our own pasts and presents. Before we judge, shouldn't we remember that? Before we criticize, shouldn't we try to discuss our differences?
Are your eyes seeing the real me? Or are they seeing the me that you think that I am? Have you bothered to find out?
"My Favorite Neighbor"
"Sharing Sunshine...It's What I Do!"
"Whose Work Are You Stealing?"
"The Potter's Cup and Saucer"