Life Skills: Open mindedness when meeting someone

Teaching character and life skills to students

Teaching our children how to appropriately be introduced to someone that they do not know, learn to shake hands, look them in the eye and speak clearly is all part of training them to be assertive and to have good presence upon introduction.  In fact it is said that within 10 seconds of meeting a new person, an individual determines if they are equal to, or more / less than the person they are meeting.

Just as important to our initial contact though is our being open minded about the person we are meeting.  If we “judge a book by its cover”, we may be closing off an opportunity to get to know some interesting, thought provoking and awesome individuals. Pre-judging others does not allow us to get to know them and their story.  Imagine seeing someone that does not look like you, they may seem different in other ways too, yet when you meet them and get to talk you discover that they are more like yourself than you would have imagined.  This happens all the time.  Do you remember the woman pictured here and her angel like voice.

I would like to tell you about a parent that I barely knew – because we had never talked.  In fact our conversations were very short, they never took their sunglasses off  and I felt like this parent just didn’t like me.  That was OK, but I was determined to continue to be pleasant.  Then one day the conversation was returned and we spoke at length and soon I found out that the reason the sunglasses stayed on and conversations were short was because of an almost constant migraine style headache they had suffered from for years.  Yet they continued on with life in the best way possible.

Here is what I learned.  First you never know the story behind the person till you give them a chance.  Second, it is not about YOU.  I could see how quick I was to impugn bad personality traits on someone when I really did not know the whole situation.  The lesson is:  Be Open Minded when meeting someone.


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