We live in a big and domesticated world. A world full of technology, wisdom and wealth. We can attain and achieve almost anything with a bit of effort and determination.
And yet in certain categories we are still very far behind and very lacking. And that is in the way we see others and the type of work they do.
No matter how sophisticated and advanced our wonderful society is, we still tend to get caught up in categorizing one another and labeling people.
The world is based on preconceived notions, experiences and ideas that society has molded into the wood works of our minds. When we see a doctor a lawyer a wealthy businessman or a great scholar, we immediately make assumptions and label that person as wonderful and superior to others. Now if we were to see a simple worker with no special title or a policeman or a traffic ticket officer, we start to feel defensive and hostile and find ourselves remembering any and every incident we had in the past with the police and our minds race rapidly as we wish we could make him disappear. We actually tend to label almost every one we see or know. “He’s rich and famous so he’s probably happy. Wish I could be his friend, ” he’s a doctor so he’s smart nice and Successful.” She’s a teacher so she probably loves to teach. The poor are sad people because they have no money” We even believe that all the police just want to give out tickets and annoy people. Guard’s are obnoxious and harsh people and very forceful. Now obviously these are extreme positions, however there is a lot of truth hidden within these words. We rarely see one another just for who they really are. We must try to see others not by what they are wearing or what position they have in society, but rather who they are and what they are within, no matter what wrapping they have on the outside.
This past week I had a very mind opening experience which made me realize that I too, like so many, fall into that category of labeling.
It was 7:30 on Sunday morning, it was cold and rainy, and I was on my way to bring my special needs child to school. I got into my car and the engine would not turn on. No matter what I tried all my efforts were worthless. I got out of my car and tried to find some help. No one really stopped as it was a tough hour when every parent is trying to get their children off to school. After a few minutes a van from the municipality passed. I flagged them down and was so thankful to see them. There were two ladies inside, one a police officer lady and the other a municipality lady officer, both law officials that generally I would try to avoid. My special needs child was in the car and it was a very cold and rainy morning. These two officers didn’t leave my side for more than 2 hours. At that early and busy hour in the morning it was very hard for me to find a handicapped van to take my child to school since they were all busy with the regular daily pickups of the special needs children around the city. So these police women ordered a special car service for the handicapped and instructed the driver not to take a penny, just to make sure that my child was safe at school. I got into the car service, as well to bring my son to school. I then had to return to my car to see what could be done to fix it. These wonderful law enforcers drove behind me in their car as I took my son to school in order that they could then drive me back to where my car was stuck, as they knew that I had no way of getting back.
At first when I climbed into the police van it felt very strange. My first reaction, sitting in a car with two police officers, was “What had I done wrong?” Labeling and assumptions are hard to shake in a blink of a second. They then made sure that a car repair man with a mobile fixing shop would come and try to fix the problem at hand. They didn’t want my car to be towed since they know that then I would have no way to bring my son back from school in the afternoon. These two wonderful ladies really saved my day. I thanked them profusely and sent a letter of appreciation to their boss. Aside from the tremendous help I received that morning I had learned a very important lesson: Do not judging a book by its cover.