Sunday, May 10, 2009

"We see things not as they are, but as we are."

Someone important said that. But obviously not important enough for me to remember their name.

...Alright, I went and looked it up. It was Delbert Stapley. You'd think that name woulda stuck in my brain. I still don't know his significance though.

...Okay, I couldn't let that go either. Turns out Delbert Stapley was a member of the apostleship for the LDS Church at one point. The distinguishing characteristic that wikipedia finds important enough to note is that at one point in the 60's he fought AGAINST legislation in Michigan favoring civil rights. But keep in mind that the man was born in 1896. It then notes that his views eventually changed, and just months before he died he sustained the 1978 action of all worthy men receiving the priesthood regardless of race.

Huh. Now that this quote has some background it makes it even more interesting.

My degree, no matter how useless it might be in the business world, has actually benefitted me greatly in my interpersonal interactions. When studying Family and Human Development one learns a lot about behavior in a family context. And, since your family constitutes your most immediate relationships during your most formative years, a lot of issues people have as adults can be directly related back to how they were raised. Of course, there's a myriad of other variables that come into play as well, and it isn't to say that people can't be trained in our out of good or bad habits, but the things you learn from your family tend to be the things that stick. For good or ill.

What brought all this on, you ask? Is it that I crave school so much that I just decided to crank out a mini-essay on nature vs. nurture just for old times sake? Maybe a little.

But I've recently been reminded of the importance of context. People generally do not set out every day with the goal to be as inconsiderate as possible, or to hurt someone else's feelings, or to engage in other behaviors that are destructive to the relationships around them. But, I also don't feel that people should be spared the negative consequences that are a natural result of these destructive behaviors, because how else will the person be conditioned out of them?

For instance... at one time I was known to be fairly tactless with people about their failings. What justified this? The good ol' golden rule. I would hope to high heaven that if I were doing something stupid and didn't realize it, that someone would let me know so I could correct the behavior. So, I was just extending the same favor to other people around me under the assumption that they felt the same way I did.

As it turns out, most people DON'T like being told what they're doing wrong. Shocker, I know.

So, as I persisted in being the police woman of the universe, I began to notice that blowing my whistle at people started to have negative reprocussions of their own. People weren't comfortable being themselves around me, because heaven forbid one of their weaknesses poke out for me to see and call them on. When I thought I was helping people change for the better, it turned out people were just sucking in their guts until I was gone.

And I'd rather people be at ease around me than good around me.

So I've slowly moved away from that by trying to keep any behavior within context. It has helped me leaps and bounds in the charity department, too. It's a lot easier to love crappy people when you think that their crappiness isn't necessarily something they can control. And heaven knows I have my own set of crappy behaviors that I hope people can shake off until I can shake them off myself.

... I don't know where that all came from.

By way of a life update, I'm moving to Midvale in a couple of weeks. Not being one who likes feeling stagnant in any way, shape, or form, I was offered a room in a former roommate's new house, and I took it. I'm excited for the change and whatever growth will happen as a result.

I still love my job. You know that one restaurant where the buffet line moved and you just had to stand there and scoop stuff onto your plate as it passed? My job is like a moving buffet line of people. I go to work and every day new people come in and out of the volunteer area for me to meet and learn from. More often than not these people are happy to be there, too. I'm sure a prison security worker could also safely say that his job was like a moving buffet of people, but it'd be like a buffet of anchovies and canned peas and cat food and stuff. (For whatever reason, those were the three items that sounded the least appetizing right at this moment.)

There. There's a new blog post. Do what you will with it.