Reader Opinion: Lessons from the berry patch
When picking raspberries, if I only look for ripe berries from one angle, I miss many ripe berries. So while picking, I'm bobbing and weaving, looking at things from a different angle and inevitably, I find more berries hidden behind leaves that I missed while standing upright. When done picking, I turn around and retrace my path so I'm seeing things from the other side. Again, I find several more ripe berries, some the biggest and best.
In the journey of life, we walk our own path and see the world from our own eyes. Author Anais Nin said, "We see the world not as it is, but as we are." This world view of ours is shaped by a lifetime of experiences; by the roles we play -- young/old, man/woman, employer/employee, white/person of color; and by our values, often shaped by our families, or influential people we have met along the way.
If we don't bother to step outside of our own cocoons, by traveling and living in different places and getting to know people not like us, it is likely we'll see the world one way -- our way. If we only walk our own path, and not turn and look at things from a different perspective, it's easier to criticize, and even dehumanize those unlike ourselves.
I encourage all of us to stop and think -- what would my life be like if I hadn't been born into my family, born in a war-torn country, or of a different race? How different would my view and path be? Talk to someone unlike yourself, listen to learn and understand, not to judge or disagree, show empathy, and try saying, "I see where you're coming from, here's how I see it." We'll all be richer for it. Time for raspberries!
Executive Director, Brainerd Lakes Area Community Foundation