May 23, 2009

A Mile in Their Shoes

During Family Night last week Jeni and I decided to teach an object lesson about not judging people by their outward appearance. The goal was to remind us that we should not be quick to judge others based only on what we see with our eyes, but to realize that everyone has a story, a background and a reason to why they are the way they are and that we should always think the best of others. Basing the lesson on the scriptures that teach that "man looketh on the outward appearance, but the Lord looketh on the heart” (1 Samuel 16:7) and to "think no evil" of others (1 Corinthians 13:4-7, Moroni 7:45), we headed out to the car carrying nothing but a pen and paper each. We told Maddy and Joey that we would be taking a drive and randomly picking out individual people and that from a distance, we would try to observe everything we could about them physically. Then, on paper, we would each write their possible story. Stalking.....No. Observing.....Yes.

Somehow, what started out as our desire for a spiritually focused lesson quickly turned into some very funny narrative by the kids. Maddy especially used her creative writing skills, going from third person in her first entry to first person in her last. I guess she took the walking "a mile in their shoes" literally! The text below in italics is what we witnessed and the text below that is what Maddy wrote, word for word.

Girl, wearing a backpack, walking with another girl down the road, drinking bottled water
Rosetta is just walking home from a stressful day of High School. She knows she has loads of homework but what the heck? She is with her best friend Jamie. She feels like Jamie has a much better life than her but decides to just ignore that and try to break the awkward silence. That's when she realizes there's a bottled water in the pocket of her pink backpack, so she pours it down Jamie's back. Woops. Jamie has water too. Now Rosetta has water down her back. Hee hee hee.

Older man, probably 75, smoking, getting into a beat-up truck outside a grocery store
I've got to stop this. I'm only 52 but I look 20 years older. They all told me smoking would do this. But how was I supposed to believe them? At least there ain't a hole in my neck... yet. Even if there was, who would care? I have no one. Just a dog. Good ol' King.

I'm not sure how much of the actual "lesson" got through, but we did laugh a lot and created a memory that will last a very long time.