I have a special privilege of working with college and graduate students from all around the world. Of course they each bring things of interest to the table and I learn greatly from them as horizons are broadened.

Recently, one of my college students from a Latin American country wrote me a requested paper concerning freedom and what it means. It was interesting that she (and others) determined that the USA is not a free country because we have to follow certain laws, while persons in her and other countries did not have to follow certain laws.

She brought up the idea that children could drink if they wanted to in her country … without fear of being arrested. She also brought up the idea that persons in her country did not have to pay taxes, and therefore, when coming here to the USA, they felt that they could certainly take advantage of the system here because, in their frame of reference, the requirements that we have are of no concern.

Now please note, she was not being belligerent, nor was she being argumentative; in fact, she was even supportive of the opinion that she was stating; she was simply stating a fact.

I was amazed. It never occurred to me WHY people were doing what they were doing and acting like they were acting. And I had to stop and think for a minute: I wonder what would happen to our thinking IF we could take the time to try and understand why others acted, responded, and spoke out like they do.

And again, this is not an attempt to get us to pardon wrongs done to and within our country; it is to cause us to stop, listen to them, see where they are coming from, and then make the judgment that needs to be made. Of course, this is in complete contrast to the way that we sometimes do things. You know, see something we don’t like and then rant and rave about it.

Maybe what we need is a little more understanding.

Maybe we need a little more caring.

Maybe we need a lot less “jumping to conclusions.”

It may or may not change our thoughts.

It may or may not change our responses.

But it certainly will change our understanding.

It certainly will change our perspective.

And it certainly will change our attitudes.

Certainly there is a lot more that could be said about this, and perhaps more will be in the future, but for now, be challenged by the idea of giving others a chance. We may not change our minds … but we might just learn something.

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