This I Believe

Katie - Fayetteville, New York
Entered on December 18, 2006
Age Group: Under 18
Themes: tolerance

I believe in open mindedness. Our world is prejudicial, as many of us are stuck in our own beliefs and don’t want to open our minds to other cultures and ideas. Different races and religions seem to be the hardest for people to be open about. People tend to go about their traditional beliefs, not understanding the world has changed. They think in their own way without having different perspecetives on other world cultures. I believe to be open minded is to have a key into all intellectual advancement.

In a friendship with someone, you may not have the same beliefs as them but if you’re willing to listen to what they say, you can grow, learn and respect their view point. Being open minded means you can look at the world from all different positions, being able to take in what’s new out there and growing as a person. I feel you can fulfill your life to its greatest potential by taking each challenge or life experience given to you as an opportunity to prosper from. Every bad experience I have, I really try to step back and think how I could grow and learn from it instead of getting angry and judgmental upon myself.

To be open minded is not passing judgment. When I go to the airport and see people getting their bags checked on the side, I realize that judging them won’t get me anywhere; rather I just understand that this could happen to anyone. A situation I often see is people judging others on how clean their house is or their individual style, and even people’s materialistic lifestyles. What they don’t comprehend is that these different people are no better or worse then any one else.

When I see people of different classes, races, or religions my first response won’t be to judge them but rather try to learn about them and their culture. I find it truly interesting and am very susceptible to meet different people because I discover more things about myself as well as what’s going on in different parts of the world. I consider these people just as “valuable” and “important” as my own friends. In school I don’t choose my friends based on their religion or race. I feel no one can be judged by a pigment of their skin. Being open minded has brought me to a wide range of friends with different ethnicities and different religions which I have learned greatly from.

I feel as though doing things you are not used to doing everyday can also open you up to new life experiences and different people. I do volunteer work for my confirmation class and though that I have met a group of girls extremely different from any of my friends and through them I have learned a whole other side of me.

When I see a homeless man on the street I learn not to look at them as someone who “does drugs and has a criminal record,” or as someone to be extremely doleful towards. But I understand that I have no idea how they got to be living on the street or what their life story is, so who am I to judge?

Everyone hates when other people judge them based on what they look like, or what kind of living situation their in, their smartness, or anything of that nature. Almost always people try to deny that judgment when it’s thrown at them, even if it is true. So what’s the point?

To live in an open minded way is to learn from all the different people in the world and not to be boxed into one class, race, or style for your whole life. It is to be exposed to this interesting and diverse world. You have to be able to look at everything with your eyes wide open and be able to absorb the whole picture. To be closed minded is an insular response to diversity and learning.