Robert Birming

Without judgment

Just got home from the movies. I watched The Last Journey, a Swedish documentary about a son who takes his father on a journey to relive their younger years. Very touching movie.

The father used to work as a teacher and was much loved by his students. In one of the scenes, he is watching a video with greetings from them. They explain how much he meant to them - that he paid attention, really saw and listened to them, no matter who they were and what their story was. Beautiful scene.

It reminded me of a story I heard about a man in prison. He had written to the local radio station asking for a song to be played. When the radio DJ introduced the song - "And this one goes out to John" - he felt it was the first time someone had said his name without judgment in their voice.

We can do so much simply by acknowledging our fellow human beings, seeing and listening to them from a neutral state of mind. When we do this, we give that person the space and opportunity to be who he or she really is - which, more often than not, is very different from their rumor. We get a chance to see their true selves.

Be curious, not judgmental. — Walt Whitman