Pre, COVID-19, I parked next to a car with this bumper sticker: “A Closed Mind is a wonderful thing to lose.” When I went back, two women were in the car, so I knocked on the driver’s window and shared how much I love that message, which led to a short conversation about life.
Closed-mindedness, unreceptive to new ideas, unwilling to consider others’ beliefs and opinions, disallows the possibility of viewing life from different perspectives. Intolerance, the inability to accept views not personally held, is prevalent. Sometimes, when we “own” a belief, we dig our heels in, unwilling to hear other points of view, unable to even consider other ideas. What if we’re wrong?
What impact is this pandemic having on your views and beliefs?
Ducks “imprint” at birth with the first moving creature (larger than them) they see. They don’t seek out other ducks or pretend to be the same as what they imprint with, they simply know they are. ❶
Imprinting is an integral part of human interaction, too. Our worldviews profoundly impact how the next generations see the world, but how often are we aware of the messages we’re sending? Children mimic what their parents do. Wow, talk about the significance of every little step made! When a parent stops and gets down to a child’s level to gently answer a question, the child learns a behavior. When a parent throws a bag out of the car window or makes fun of someone else, the child learns that as well.
As children, we eat the same food, root for the same teams, watch the same shows, hold the same values, and make the same judgments as our family of origin. (As we age and evolve, many of us create, at least some, new value systems that we then pass on.) If our “role models” acquiesce rather than stand up for something, that becomes “the way we do things.” All behaviors are being processed, including closed-minded ones. Toddlers become school-age children who become young adults who become parents, and the cycle continues. What are they learning? What are we teaching?
Closed-mindedness doesn’t require negativity to be spoken aloud. Sometimes, it’s couched in pride, by parents who believe their children (whether they’re adolescents or adults) can do no wrong. Other times it’s touted through religious views, political opinions, or lifestyles as the only one that’s “right.” Prejudice—placing judgment or having preconceived views about something or someone before you know all the facts—exists in so many arenas: ethnicity, gender, social class, political affiliation, weight, age, sexual orientation, education, religion, and disability. Prejudice and stereotyping often go hand-in-hand. Once we’ve stereotyped a group of people, we’ve closed our minds to the possibility that “they” could be anyone else.
My brother, Bob, diagnosed with his first brain tumor at sixteen, died when he was forty. He lived with excruciating pain, but never said, “why me?” As his body and mind betrayed him, close-mindedness prevented many from seeing him through my eyes. Without knowing it, Bob taught me:
• we all have afflictions; often, they just aren’t visible
• never judge someone by their physical appearance
• there are many different ways to walk through life with grace
• there’s a balance between having a loving heart and handing over your power
• a handicap, of any kind, isn’t what makes you different
• to recognize the beauty in each day
• to sing, no matter how off-key I am
And he taught me that an open mind is a beautiful thing to have. ❤︎
Dear Reader, please help spread the word of peace full home® and invite your friends to our peace-filled conversations. I’d love to hear from you, so please feel free to comment and let me know what you’re thinking. If you comment, please check the box so that you get my response. Thank You!