It is difficult to share this story, because I still cringe at my stupidity in letting a simple difference in culture cause such a great mis-judgement in my view of another human being!
In Zambia, we made friends with a food scientist who made wonderful, nourishing foods from local plants and trees. His wife seemed to be a simple, quiet homebody who prayed five times a day, cared for their two children, and cooked wonderful vegetarian dishes. Our children played together, and she taught me how to make banana flower cutlets. Our conversations always seemed to center aroundhome and children.
A number of years after we returned to the US, we got a letter from hersaying that she was coming to America and would love to visit us in Detroit. It turned out that the reason for her visit was that she was going to speak to the United Nations assembly. This "simple homebody" had a Masters degree in Urdu literature,was now a Member of Parliament in Bangladesh, and had recently become the leader of the opposition party.
She did come to Detroit, and our conversations included all that we had missed before because of my "unconscious assumptions" about who she was.
On Sep 16, 2020LilaH wrote :
Thank you for sharing this. Its a potent reminder to us all to look at our assumptions in the midst of our 'enlightened' state (as we believe it to be).
On Sep 17, 2020Alan Brisley wrote :
Thank you for the story. I, too, just wrote a personal story and reflection.
Yours was the first in a list of ten other responses. I got so excited to read the rest!
I have also now read them (well, skimmed actually.) I began skimming them because they had no stories!!!!! They were all about the philosophy or the lesson. Shocking, considering the reflective instructions . . . . . . . . Thank you for your story and your reflection. I will remember your story. I have already forgotten your reflection . . . . .
On Sep 19, 2020David Doane wrote :
I thank you too, Jackie, for your personal story about how we miss important things due to our assumptions. I appreciate the reminder.
On Oct 6, 2020matangi wrote :
I have a story about how I judge book by cover famous verse however from conversation above it seems it's a common scenario. I teach yoga and Art of living classes .one 80 yr old enrolled in class and was happy with instructions etc I happen to speak same native language so made her more communicative with me . Initially my reaction was how is she going to manage all instructions but to my surprise she not only managed virtual class and later revealed to me she has a master in education was principal of school and was vigilant with mahatma Gandhi non violence movement of her time . I recognize how narrow my judgement was inspite of teaching how interconnected we are !
My take away is change your lance become conscious of unconscious