There are so many factors that affect how we see people. What they are wearing. The color of their skin. Where they are from. How much money they have. Sadly, these superficial things become barriers and play a role in how we decide to engage with others. Judgements are made before we get to know people.
My next door neighbors just adopted two girls from an orphanage in Ethiopia. They are ages 5 and 9. My children, 5 and 7, went over to meet them for the first time this weekend.
At first glance these children couldn’t be more different. They’re from opposite sides of the world, speak a different language, and have contrasting skin color. One set of siblings grew up in a house, the other in a hut.
As I watched these children play together my eyes welled up and I experienced a kind of joy and hope I haven’t felt in a long time. Here are some things I observed:
- Complete lack of judgement. The kids were excited to play together because they were together. Simple as that. They didn’t notice each other’s skin color, or outfits, or care who had more toys. They jumped on the trampoline, shrieking with joy and holding hands.
- Primitive communication. The girls from Ethiopia don’t speak a word of English. That didn’t stop the kids from interacting and playing cooperatively for three hours. They used the basics: smiles and gestures.
- Sharing is caring. Because of the language barrier, one way I noticed the kids establishing their relationship was through sharing. They passed around balloons, took turns with bowls at the water table, and offered each other help in and out of the trampoline.
Witnessing this beautiful, human-to-human interaction got me thinking. What’s wrong with the rest of us? The world is so broken.
We can change it. You can change it.
These four young kids demonstrated how we’re supposed to see and treat each other as human beings.
I know that the real world is complicated and messed up in countless ways.
But I’m thankful that I had the chance, even if for a moment, to see it as simple.
How do you see people?