My vehicles are all POJ’s. That’s pieces of junk to you and me, Clark. But the one in particular, the magical minivan…oh. She still runs like a dream. The CD player, random lights and locks and other non-essentials like AC don’t work, but that engine still purrs like a happy kitten. In the meantime, however dot com, I have had to invest in a newer vehicle. You know, for trips that require a distance of more than can be ridden on a horse in a day.
Since last summer, I have had another, slightly-less-POJ, POJ. Now when I test drove that beauty, I was just so enamored by the functioning AC that it was hard to get past it. The blast of cool, refreshing air on my sweaty July face had the same effect as an intoxicating drug and was no less difficult to overcome. I could hear Wayne in my head saying, “She will be mine. Oh yes, she will be mine.” And then, she was.
It was sometime later, however dot com, that I noticed something my haste had missed. The new little cutie car has an enormous blind spot. There are a few places on the road I travel regularly that are in particular hard to see if anything is coming. I’m getting used to it, Officer, and I’m careful. But it got me thinking about blind spots in general.
We all saw that thing online this week about the kid on the school trip in DC who was the middle of a controversy. He was vilified by the media for being disrespectful to his elders. Later, a more detailed, longer video emerged that most felt exonerated the boy. We simply weren’t shown or told the whole story. We were viewing it from a blind spot, even though we didn’t know it at the time.
What’s my point? Keep those grains of salt in the forefront of your mind. You need to take everything with them. We are none of us all one thing or the other. The best of us is sometimes selfish and the worst of us still has a heart. We all have the same wants and needs and to judge anyone based on what you think is the whole story is rarely a good idea.
Two women come to mind. My mother and Irene Faulkner. My mother would rarely get mad at anyone, only saying, “Well, I might be the same way.” I never heard Mrs. Faulkner say an unkind word about anyone. And really what is the point? To bring someone else down? The old adage about not saying anything at all if you can’t say something nice really does have a good lesson, that I myself need to listen to. Before we speak, shouldn’t we ask, what’s the point?
Maybe we disparage others to make our own case known. In an effort to defend ourselves, we sometimes speak ill of others. But even then, what’s the point? Rallying public opinion? Is this a political contest? Is it popularity that we seek to win? What’s the point?
At the end of the day, folks are going to think what they want, based on their own experience and point of view. The ones who are “on your side,” are the ones who would be on your side anyway, the ones you can call with the proverbial duct tape and Hefty bags when you’re in a pinch. Because their blind spot is for you. And aren’t you glad to have those people? I think the phrase these days is, “My ride or die,” although I’m not completely sure what that means. What would we do without them?
We all have our own prejudices and while that word has a negative connotation, prejudice isn’t always a bad thing. Prejudice means pre-judging. Thank you, Becky, for reminding me of that in your recent posts that made me think! We can pre-judge, however, out of faith and loyalty.
For example, if I am to take part in a discussion that involves farming, I am going to be prejudiced to take the side of the farmer. If it involves dairy farming in particular, I might even get fired up and passionate about it. I am prejudiced to take the side of those with whom I feel such a kinship. Aren’t we that way with our friends? And shouldn’t we be, to a point? Most parents are prejudiced for their children. Mommy used to say, “Every mother crow thinks her baby’s the blackest.” While that mindset or blind spot can go too far when we don’t admit a child’s wrong to punish them when they need it, it is true that we are going to be biased for our kids. We will be more willing to see the good that others overlook in times when they are bad because we love them.
What if…and this is a radical thought…what if we extended that same love and positive bias to others? What if, even when faced with what might seem at the time like facts of bad behavior, we took it with that grain of salt, and looked instead for the good? The kid in the video in DC knows what I’m talking about. The whole story.
Forgive my ramble. I hope you see my point. I began this morning as I do every morning with good morning hello’s to my girlfriends in our group chat. I made two points right off the bat that were inherently negative. One friend shot me down quickly. She said she would rather begin her Monday on a bit more positive note. She refrained from asking me who peed in my Cheerios, but I know she was thinking it.
And she’s right. Abraham Lincoln said, “If you go looking for the bad in people, you will surely find it.” I know where the blind spot is in my car and I work around it. Maybe this week we can all carry those grains of salt in the forefront of our minds and seek to look outside the blind spots and embrace only the positive kind of prejudice. We are all human. I would like to receive the warmth of sunshine and acceptance rather than the bitter bite of blind judgment. Wouldn’t you?
A teacher and mother, Meagan Morehead Bradshaw lives on a farm in Bland County; contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.