|"Don't Judge a Book by its Cover" - by PictureWendy|
My Eldest girl takes a taxi to school and back every day. Originally, I was a bit worried about how she would be able to handle being driven by a variety of unfamiliar men, as opposed to having the same familiar bus driver every day.
Well, she hasn't complained at all. Last evening she was telling me about her latest driver. She said "most of the drivers wear baseball caps and casual clothes, but this man was all dressed up on a tuxedo (?!), with his hair all slicked back. He has such a thick accent, you could cut it with a knife! And his teeth are very yellow - they all show when he smiles!" She said this with such a sound of delight in her voice, the simple delight of discovering the beauty and uniqueness of another human being.
We always have raised our kids not to discriminate when it comes to people. I have tried my best to show them that people are to be loved, not feared. I am not perfect at it, but I have tried.
I strongly believe that all people should be treated with equal respect, regardless of their outward presentation. I know that, given different circumstances, the sharply dressed man in the Mercedes would be in the place of the haggard looking homeless man and vice versa. I know that I am not defined by my looks or social status and that those who are either "successful" or impoverished are not entirely responsible for their own circumstances, "but time and chance happen to them all" (Eccl 9:11).
I don't want my children (let alone myself) to give too much reverence to a wealthy person, or to little to a poor person. I don't want any of us to shy away from anyone whose appearance we may find unlovely, or to be awed by anyone whose appearance we may find beautiful. This started for me in high school, when I faced the ugly fact that I was uncomfortable around developmentally delayed people. So, I signed myself up to be a volunteer Special Olympics coach in my town. That experience was so wonderful. I faced my discomfort and discovered so much love and beauty in my new friends. I was inspired by their tenacity and zest for life, their joy over the smallest of victories. After that I was determined to force myself past shyness and uncertainty when dealing with the unfamiliar. I didn't want to miss the opportunity to see life from a whole different angle and in doing so, catching a glimpse of something truly beautiful that was otherwise out of my view.
So when I saw my child just naturally taking this attitude, I felt like I had really done something right in life. Of all the reactions my girl could have had to her cab driver, she naturally inclined toward appreciating him instead of judging him. In spite of yellow teeth and a thick accent, what she saw was a man who loved his job and she found joy in his joy.
And as her mother, this is my joy. Glory to God!