"Your assumptions are your windows on the world. Scrub them off every once and a while, or the light won't come in."
- Alan Alda
Broadening your horizons
I remember with total clarity the moment, as a child, I saw a girl playing hockey on a boy's team. In my small town, there was simply no question that hockey was for BOYS ONLY. Period. It was the strangest feeling for me to watch her on the ice -it was as though I suddenly, for the first time in my life, realized that the way things were in my tiny little world, were not necessarily the way they HAD to be or the way they were everywhere else. It sounds like a minor occurrence, but it was literally an eye-opener. A whole new world had opened up before me. I saw so many things in a different light, and decided from that moment on I would never take anything at face value, that I would question everything, no matter how normal and obvious it seemed.
Well, it's now many years later, and I've come to realize that it's easier said than done. There are so many ideas we get in our heads from such a wide variety of sources (our parents, the media, our own experiences) that it's not easy to pull away from our beliefs and take a good, long look at them. It can feel almost painful to give up an idea we've clung to for years or years, maybe even since we were born. But this is what learning and growth is all about - being able to dust off the cobwebs in our minds and ponder new perspectives, even on issues we thought we had long ago made decisions about.
Making assumptions, as we know from racism and other kinds of prejudice, can be a very dangerous thing. Having something stuck in our head - that a certain person/type of people is a certain way, that we need lots of money to be happy, or we could never marry someone younger than us - can close doors, and keep us stuck in patterns that are not beneficial to us or anyone else. Don't accept anything at face value - question it!
by T.L. Scribe