“What are you looking at?” “Look at what she is wearing.” “Can these kids do anything right?” “I can’t, the kids will make fun of me.”
Phrases I have heard, I am sure you have too from kids and adults! Maybe you have even said them. I can remember walking through the halls of middle school as a student and as a principal. I am pretty old, but it seems the same feelings were still there, judgment.
Everyone is looking, pointing a finger, whispering, and we are all thinking… “What are they saying about me?” It is human nature to feel that way and sometimes it is true, people are judging us.
My granddaughter is a middle school student, and we just had a conversation about people looking at you. I gave her my thoughts on the issue, but you know she is a teenager. I explained as a teenager, I thought, why do people look at me? I was timid and never understood, so I made negative thoughts up in my head. I continued that practice even as an adult. I told her, you always wonder if you have something wrong with yourself. We laughed at a couple of stories when some people approached me when we were together to comment on my appearance. It was positive interactions, but just strange in how they happened.
She understood people might have positive things they are thinking, but why are we letting them be the judge? The control is with us in the judgment of how we look, speak, behave and live. After all who spends the most time with you? You!
In our society right now, we seem to have a great deal of judgment going on. “It’s not the differences that divide us. It’s our judgments about each other that do.”-Margaret Wheatley, Turning to One Another: Simple Conversations to Restore Hope to the Future (2002) How can we unite this divide without utilizing all of the judgment?
As an individual and professional, I have taken responsibility for growing. My life has been full of reading, education, life experiences, and opportunities to get to know many different individuals. Now as you read those last two sentences, did you make a judgment call about me and my background? Be honest with yourself. I have heard in the news the phrase “white privilege.” Did you just think that about me?
Now let me approach it differently. As a young girl, I had many opportunities to learn the importance of education, reading and meeting many different people. My parents came from poor farming families in the south and we’re uneducated. They did not know how to read, so I learned to read and read to them. We never met strangers as we grew a big garden and gave food to others. Now what is the thoughts?
I think as I listen, read and research, the missing links to our rush to judgments are conversations with real listening. Marshall Rosenberg-Nonviolent Communication A Language of Life (2003) “Moralistic judgments imply wrongness or badness on the part of people who don’t act in harmony with our values.” These types of judgments are often wrong. They do not account for the complexity of the situation. Know the story entirely through all lenses. I am proud of my background, struggles, opportunities, challenges and continued learning. My family is a mixture of color, backgrounds and stories. I love all of them.
I learned in my life to never judge a book by its cover. It may look different on the inside. You will never know if you only look at the surface and not the pages that reveal the secrets it will tell you. Sometimes those fancy covers are all it has.
Please read, research, explore, share and understand! Jim Knight is one of many I read! I hope you are working with your staff in a coaching model, if not please check with Jim Knight. It is the best practice to be the best! My favorite books of his are The Impact Cycle and Better Conversations. Please click on the links I have shared to learn more about Judgment and how it can hurt the teaching/learning process.
“There are many ways to roll your eyes that don’t involve our eyes.”-Michael Fullan. My biggest trigger is people rolling their eyes, so I saw you! Now that may have been a judgment or a good guess. Just click on the links, learn and stop judging!