Can we strive toward a less judgmental society?
If I have to answer this question, it would be:
99.9% not possible; maybe 0.1% possible
Such is the role of judgments all around!
Nevertheless, let’s seed that 0.1% hope today, it might raise to 1% hope in three years and 10% hope in thirty years.
Let’s travel through this post into that side of our personality that makes strong judgements, opinions and criticisms of things around that are going to influence the children who see and hear us.
J – Judgements: Striving toward a less judgmental society
Post #10 of the series: Instilling Social Equality in Children
I may write pages on social equality and keep bragging about this and that realization that came to me. But ask me if I am completely free of biases, prejudices, and judgements.
I might have grown free of confinements around religions, castes, and social status but I can be a work-in-progress in a hundred other things.
The other day I heard a known acquaintance say that he got a personal loan to upgrade his iPhone. It sounded an insane thing to me for someone to do that. I was telling my family how people are behind material things without realizing the financial mess they get into.
One of the neighbour aunties is not well for the nth reason and is admitted in the hospital for the nth time. “Why can’t people take care of their health without doctors, hospitals, and medicines?” was my comment when my mom sadly told about her friend’s state.
Upgrading their phone can be someone’s passion, or even necessity. It’s their personal choice.
That aunty needs a little good will and prayers to recover, not a judgmental remark from someone who haven’t even met her.
If we were to follow our everyday conversations, we can trace such judgmental remarks that we make. Most would be on matters that are not in alignment with our beliefs and principles. Sensible management of finances and natural wellness are some life priorities to me. So when I hear the personal loan and hospitalization stories, I would tend to feel the other person’s lifestyle as different.
We judge because there comes a need to feel that our way is better even if it involves proving the other person wrong; a need to feel superior to the other person in some way; and a need to raise our self-worthiness. That is, it has nothing to do with the other person, in reality! The friend who bought the iPhone is happy with it. The neighbour aunty got well at the hospital and is back home. But if I do not realize my unnecessary opinions about them, it is always going to take some cells in my brain to store my judgments – for no worthy cause!
What has this psychology of judgments got to do with children and equality?
Of course, children are listening to us; watching us!
A 10-year old boy came home. He spotted a dosa batter packet in the kitchen and said, “I don’t understand why people buy dosa batter?”
I explained that we just came back from a vacation and yet to make batter at home.
He replied, “We too came back from a vacation, but my mom made the batter as soon as we came.”
After sometime he recollected that he woke up at 4.30 in the morning and heard someone in the neighbourhood brushing. He remarked, “Why on earth will someone brush their teeth at 4.30 in the morning?”
I didn’t dare to tell him that I usually brush even before that.
It is natural that children see things that are not practiced at home differently. However, judging such practices is not natural. It is us, who are making them adept at the art of judging.
What can we do?
I don’t know if it would be practical to say Stop Judging. We are human beings after all! We cannot measure every inch of the words that come out. Our mind constantly creates opinions. And we have all the rights to express them if we have to be ourselves.
But, can we hold if our judgment can be a strong cause of a social discrimination?
Our everyday casual judgmental comments might be a little less harmful than some judgments that are passed with a strong intensity or those that are repeated over time. Once I heard someone say that women who are financially independent can go to any extent about someone else who was going through a divorce. It’s not a surprise that women going through a divorce would hear a variety of judgmental comments in our country. But this comment hit me hard on the heart to realize that despite the cultural advancements, some taboos are so hard to wipe out.
If you are about to make such comments, please look around to see that children are not listening to you – to help them; their future; their society!
Can we allow children to get fresh perspective on things around them?
If they didn’t hear us saying that the maid is taking her son’s health as an excuse for her leave, children might actually empathize with her life situation. If you understand the difference in these two perspectives, this is the change that this post is talking about!
Try creating that environment at home where you don’t talk about people. If required, let such talks at least be non-judgmental.
Can we turn that TV serial volume off?
If your children are habituated watching TV serials with you, they are learning more judgements than all that they can ever learn from home. Serials are absolutely unnecessary inputs to a child’s growing mind. This could be my judgment, but please protect your child’s mind before it is dumped with all the unwanted opinions of the adults.
Can we listen to our children to closely follow what kind of judgments their minds are making?
When children bring home judgments, if it is something that is bothering them, let’s address with empathy. If it’s something that is merely a different attitude or practice from what they’ve known, let’s let them know that. Let’s tell them the little they see about others may not be their entirety. Let’s tell them there can be another good side for everyone. Let’s tell them where there is more kindness, there will be less judgments. Let’s tell them when we begin to love the other person, what we see in them as our judgments will no longer be visible to us.
To tell all that, we need to listen to them without a judgmental mind.
Getting over the habit of making judgments is a gradual and thoughtful process. When we practice it however, over time we will be freeing ourselves from prejudices, we will be cutting the passing down of judgments to our children; and we will be letting others to live their life in peace.