I am NOT a big Elvis fan, so I was VERY surprised to learn that the lyrics that have been bouncing around in my head for the last couple of days were written by none other than the king.
“Before you abuse, criticize and accuse, walk a mile in my shoes.” The rest of the song is as far as I’m concerned typical Elvis – he’s feeling pretty sorry for himself, but those 12 words cut to the chase. We all do it and if we are honest, we all know it. We can’t help but make decisions based on our own experience, our own morality and our own prejudice. But we can do something about it.
The story we are going to read in Sunday School is called Hey Little Ant, Hannah and Phillip Hoose. [ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xwWjqByviMI] It is a story about a kid who is about to squish an ant on the sidewalk when the ant speaks up for himself and a very pointed debate between the two ensues. The end of the book asks the question, should the boy squish the ant or not? We learn that the ant does have a family and that he is the primary provider for that family. We learn that from the ant’s perspective the chip that he and some of his relatives carry away from your picnic will feed his whole extended family for a week (and honestly, will the family really miss one chip?) The ant asks, if their situations were reversed, should the great big huge ant step on the tiny kid …really for no good reason?
Particularly in the polarized environment we live in these days, and the echo chambers we all live in – there is a critical need to get out of our own heads and talk with people, lots of people, particularly people who are different from ourselves…even more particularly people with whom you may disagree strongly. We need to genuinely attempt to take a walk in the “other’s” shoes before we abuse, criticize or accuse.
Here is a link to a podcast that precisely lays out a strategy for helping us listen to someone who we may be having a hard time listening to. It’s not new, but it is a slightly different take on something tried and true.
Simple things, not necessarily easy things, done with great love.
Director of Children and Young Families
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