Writing yesterday I alluded to the fact that being in a residence for independent seniors brings to the front of our view that we are at risk to be ignored by everyone else. Now by saying that I don’t mean that our families just walk away and leave us. Mostly that is not the case. But the reality is that we are deemed “less than.” Less brains, less physical ability and less important. We are the ignored minority.
I love the poems by Ogden Nash and this idea brought to mind a poem that brings out this point very clearly.
People expect old men to die, They do not really mourn old men. Old men are different. People look At them with eyes that wonder when… People watch with unshocked eyes; But the old men know when an old man dies.
This is so very true.. and yet the collection of wisdom, knowledge and ideas here is amazing. We are blessed with so many who have designed things now used by everyone, were professors in just about every field of endeavor. written books both fiction and non-fiction. I could go on and on. We are still alive, thinking, giving, sharing and loving.
In a more alert world we would be considered the “institutional memory” that is so important. It helps to keep us from making the same mistakes over and over.
We are here! We are useful! We are wise! Ignore us and you will be the ones who are “less than”
It has always fascinated me that people who I know and who condemn any kind of sexuality other than heterosexuals can sin so freely in other ways. Adultery seems to be fine, hatred, unkindness, greed….actually many of the 7 deadly sins are fine. Sexual differences are the one unforgivable sin. My aunt used to call this “swallow an elephant, choke on a gnat.”
They seem to feel that some sins are ok and others are not. A kind of hypocrisy that I find particularly abhorrent. It is so easy to condemn others and blithely carry on with our hurtful ways.
Judgement is mine says the Lord and the rest of us need to back off.
Often I think that perspective is everything. How we view things is our reality. This is hard to learn and to realize that the world functions that way. One of the most difficult things to do is to change someone’s perspective. Our prejudices and our beliefs come from there. They are so ingrained that I don’t think we even know what is creating our world view.
The dictionary says perspective is:
a particular attitude toward or way of regarding something; a point of view.
“most guidebook history is written from the editor’s perspective”
outlook, view, viewpoint, point of view, standpoint, position, stand, stance, angle, slant, attitude, frame of mind, frame of reference, approach, way of looking/thinking, vantage point, interpretation
When you read the synonyms you can see the far reaching effects of this. Sometimes it is worth our while to made changes to our perspective. If we see everything from a negative point of view then life will be negative.
“We can complain because rose bushes have thorns, or rejoice because thorn bushes have roses.” Abraham Lincoln
I didn’t write yesterday as I came home exhausted from taking a class on Community Conferencing. This is a program that works with the school, courts, police, to deflect teens with offences to a resolution process instead of getting them into the system. The trainers told us that where they are teens who have been through this process are 60% less likely to re-offend. I will see how this works for me.
One of the people who was also training told us about a way she looks at people’s differences and how they live. She broke it down into this.
Tolerance: She is tolerant of how others live and their opinions.
Acceptance: She will accept that the way may not be her way.
Approval: This is where she steps back and feels she doesn’t have to approve.
This makes so much sense to me. I may not agree with you but I can be tolerant about your life and your opinions and accept that you want to live that way but I don’t have to approve of it.
This is a way to break it down into pieces and be a tolerant and accepting person without agreeing with what it is. There are people who I love but cannot approve of their lifestyle. For me, it is usually when I see it as hurtful to them or others.
This may not work or help some people but for me It was sort of an “aha” moment. Another tool to put in my toolbox and help me understand and move on.
The most difficult thing is the decision to act, the rest is merely tenacity. The fears are paper tigers. You can do anything you decide to do. You can act to change and control your life; and the procedure, the process is its own reward. Amelia Earhart
One of my husbands favorite things to say is “no decision is a decision.” He believes that we should gather all the information we can at the time and then move forward. To just do nothing is actually a decision. This thinking makes complete sense when it comes from one who spent two years in combat. No decision could kill you.
Sometimes our decision is right sometimes not. It doesn’t really matter. As they say “hindsight is 20/20”. Most of the time we must just gather as much knowledge as is available and move on. We often blame ourselves later when the choices become clear but remember there were things you didn’t know at the beginning.
The thing we don’t always do is to gather information. Yesterday I wrote about irrational decisions. We are so easily swayed by a bias from our life history. Not considering all the options is heading toward a mistake. To see clearly we must know our own sets of bias and be able to push them into the background. It is so easy to jump to a conclusion and not take the time to see the whole picture.
I often have to stop myself from an “assumption” and you know where that gets us. The word “assume” tells it all.
Decisions are not just about major things but can also be snap judgements. It is so easy to make up our minds about other people without all the information. We can lose out on some great connections this way.
Decisions may not always be easy and we will make mistakes just don’t beat yourself up about it. We have to accept our messes and move one. To feel guilty and dwell on them does no good.
In some of my recent reading I came across an interesting fact. As a Christian I have learned about original sin….the sin that came from the mistakes of Adam and Eve. However, the history of this idea was not originally connected to Jesus. It was not know in the very early church. It was not a doctrine accepted by either the Jewish faith or Islam. It is another doctrine that was hammered out when the early church was struggling to keep some cohesiveness of ideas.
Several communities of Christians developed ideas that others saw as heading the wrong way and tried to wipe out what they considered heresy. The struggles led to the Council of Nicea where many church fathers sat down to come to some agreement. Many doctrines of Christianity came from this meeting.
The interesting thing to me is that things we have been taught as “truth” may have a different beginning than we realized. It shows how what we learn from those around us can be colored by their viewpoint.
Reaching back into time to find the history of concepts we have learned may bring a different perspective entirely.
Not too long ago I saw a program that had people tell about their backgrounds and explore some of the prejudices they had about those from different cultures. countries, and races. They then had their DNA tested and it was interesting to discover that many of them had DNA in common with those they thought were different from them. It was, for them, a wake-up call to re-examine what they had been taught.
Never be afraid to explore the birth of customs and ideas. We may find that their beginnings are not what we thought. If, by doing so, we could discard some of our learned prejudices we may create a better world.