17 Nov Judgments
I think that there are a good number of us out there who turn our noses up at homeless people. When we’re walking around on the street and happen to cross paths with someone living on the streets, we quickly rush by and avoid eye contact with them. We hold our breath, and on occasion we even have unkind thoughts about them. We might think that they’re lazy or addicts who spend all of their money on drugs and/or alcohol. And while some of these things may be true, everyone there has a story. Everybody has a series of events that led them to get to this point. And while I was always taught this lesson growing up, it didn’t hit home with me until I got to college.
During my time in college, I would participate in this program called Feed the Hungry. Every Tuesday, a group of us would come together and make sacked lunches to take to the local community center. When we arrived there, we would hand out the lunches to homeless people who stopped by the center. A lot of times we would see the same faces, and other times new people would show up. One time in particular, one of the faces that I happened to see walking past me in line was a new face to the center, but not a new face in my life. I was completely taken aback when I locked eyes with my godfather. For my entire life, this man was one of the wealthiest people that I new. He had a big house in Hollywood, and whenever I would go to Universal Studios with my family we would stop by his place and just hang out there for hours before or after we went into the park. These are some of my favorite memories growing up, and he was one of my favorite people and to see him waiting in line for a little sacked lunch broke my heart. I could tell he was embarrassed because he didn’t stop to talk. He just gave me a quick hug and kiss on the cheek, and moved on through the line. But even though we didn’t speak, that exchange that we had spoke volumes to me. In that moment I truly learned that homelessness could happen to anyone. If a man who went from living in a gorgeous house across the street from Universal Studios could go all the way from that to stopping at a community center just to get a free sandwich, then any one of us could fall on hard times. And it’s not like he got to that low point by doing something irresponsible or stupid, he just took a loss and wasn’t able to get back on his feet for awhile.
My godfather is one of the best people that I know, and I wouldn’t have wanted anyone looking at him and making assumptions about why he was on the street. I wouldn’t want someone to have walked past him and turned their noses up at him and assumed that he was just strung out on drugs when that wasn’t the case, and I’m sure that you wouldn’t want that to happen if someone you knew fell on hard times too.
Positive thinker, it’s so important not to judge others. We don’t know what kinds of situations or hardships people are going through, so it’s not right to just make assumption about someone based on a few actions. The person who’s angry all the time might be that way because they’re dealing with a sick family member. The individual who’s quiet and doesn’t engage in conversations with anyone at work might be so scared of saying something stupid or making a fool out of themselves that they’ve just decided that it’s better if they don’t talk to anyone. They’re may not really be stuck. They might want to talk to you, but they’re just afraid to do so. The most important thing that we can do in these situations is get to know the reason behind why someone does what they do. When we find this out, it becomes a lot easier to interact with others.
Positive thinker, I encourage you to take a step back before you judge someone. You wouldn’t want anyone to make a snap judgment about you, so don’t do it to anyone else.