By Lisa Davidson
Everyone judges, but no one likes being judged, especially if it’s based on preconceptions, stereotypes and clichés. Unfortunately, our world is full of judgement – everywhere, every day. Whether it is at the playground, at work or at the family reunion. We judge complete strangers and dear friends, family members and work buddies.
Why does it come so naturally? Judging others is a primal instinct and used to help our prehistoric ancestors chose between a fight or flight response. Today’s reasons for judgmental behavior are usually a lack of understanding, empathy, and compassion, or biased views of the world. Quickly judging others by a first impression and external appearance is easy and might even seem funny, but being judged is no fun. It is harmful, it hurts and it can lead to very negative consequences.
As a parent, I especially don’t want my children being judged – whether it is for their skin color, their gender or their style of clothing. I don’t want them to worry about what people may think of them, because being subject to judgmental behavior will make them feel insecure, confused and desperate. But I also don’t want them to be judgmental persons themselves.
In a world filled with violence and crime, it is hard for us to see the basic good in people. It depends on your background, your personal story, your own point of view, and how you see people and the world you live in. But to make the world a better place, we can’t focus on the evil or try to avoid it. Judging only causes more of negative behaviors and can lead to bigger problems like bullying, racism, suicidal thoughts and violent outbursts.
I want the best for my children. More importantly, I want them to be safe. But I also want them to be compassionate, caring people who treat others genuinely, without superficiality and discrimination. And that starts with me. Most of the reasons for judgment are learned behaviors from childhood. As parents, we can teach our kids how to be non-judgmental. We have to.
Allowing your kids to meet people from different backgrounds and cultures helps them to understand that being different isn’t a bad thing. Telling the truth without adding our opinions on matters gives them the opportunity to learn without biased information and prejudiced partiality. Celebrating and enjoying differences helps them understand that everyone is special and that there is not only one way that’s the right way.
We have to look beyond differences to really see a person. This requires being an emotionally intelligent person with a good deal of character. I want my children to be that person tomorrow. To do so, I need to be that person today.