Knowingly or unknowingly, even folks who strive to avoid judgmental tendencies can be guilty of probability profiling and its inherent divisiveness. While experience can and does inform healthy risk avoidance, we can always extend common courtesy and respect to others. Rather than assuming we know what someone has been through, who they are, or who they are becoming, we can wisely suppress the impulse to focus on others and stay focused on ourselves.
I was riding a subway on Sunday morning in New York. People were sitting quietly, reading papers, or resting with eyes closed. It was a peaceful scene. Then a man and his children entered the subway car. The man sat next to me and closed his eyes, apparently oblivious to his children, who were yelling, throwing things, even grabbing people’s papers.
I couldn’t believe he could be so insensitive. Eventually, with what I felt was unusual patience, I turned and said, “Sir, your children are disturbing people. I wonder if you couldn’t control them a little more?”
The man lifted his gaze as if he saw the situation for the first time. “Oh, you’re right,” he said softly, “I guess I should do something about it. We just came from the hospital where their mother died about an hour ago. I don’t know what to think, and I guess they don’t know how to handle it either.”
How to Help Children Not Be Judgmental
The world can be a cruel place. Who are we to decide what it means to wear the “wrong” clothes, eat the “wrong” food, or live the “wrong” life? Imagine a world where instead of judging, people showed kindness and compassion. Imagine co-workers who do not judge each other, but work to do the very best job they can. Imagine co-parents who do not judge each other, but work together to raise happy, healthy children.
Be mindful of the language used in front of children. If we come across as judgmental, racist, sexist, or biased, our children are more likely to imitate these misguided bigotries. When they are very young, teach children that millions of people look and speak differently than we do, and that this is something not to be avoided, but embraced. Talk to them about mental illness and developmental disabilities; help them understand different people may have peculiar idiosyncrasies or eccentric proclivities, and that it’s all good. Discuss the causes for and perils of drug abuse and alcoholism, imparting recognition so they are a bit familiar with these trials and less inclined to judge someone for struggles with addiction.
To best support the “Don’t Judge Others” learning progression: teach children to not gossip. While gossiping can be a learned habit, NOT gossiping is something that we can—and should—teach our children. When people around us talk about others, our complicity is not required. We can humbly choose to not participate in the conversation, segueing to another topic or simply walking away. Teaching through our actions, we can instill in children the wits and courage they’ll need to resist the disparaging energy of the gossip gang. If we are sick and tired of gossip, we can progress from passive non-conformity to proactive opposition, helping good-hearted folks recover decency in their conversations by sharing this quote from Eleanor Roosevelt, “Great minds discuss ideas; average minds discuss events; small minds discuss people.”
As kids get older, consider bringing them to volunteer at a homeless shelter; introduce them to folks from different walks of life. While helping the less fortunate, they’ll encounter people who are mentally ill, drug addicted, socially isolated, and otherwise marginalized by society. These encounters tend to be raw—and beautiful. The experience of interacting with people they wouldn’t normally speak with has the potential to infuse them with genuine human kindness, humility, and compassion, helping them learn to not judge others.
If it is feasible, visit countries with cultures vastly different from our own. Dine with families of different backgrounds and traditions. Most big cities have communities of people with different ethnicities and restaurants serving food from all over the world, such as Chinatown in Boston, MA, the Ethiopian Quarter in Washington, DC, and India Square in Jersey City, NJ.
American author, Dr. Wayne W. Dyer, wrote, “Real magic in relationships means an absence of judgment of others.” Fathers have a duty to teach children to fully respect everyone. Provide opportunities for them to meet and learn about people from all walks of life. Set the stage for children to grow into kind, compassionate adults who can share deep, meaningful, non-judgmental friendships.
“Do not judge others, and you will not be judged. For you will be treated as you treat others. The standard you use in judging is the standard by which you will be judged. And why worry about a speck in your friend’s eye when you have a log in your own? How can you think of saying to your friend, ‘Let me help you get rid of that speck in your eye,’ when you can’t see past the log in your own eye? Hypocrite! First get rid of the log in your own eye; then you will see well enough to deal with the speck in your friend’s eye.” —Matthew 7:1-5 NLT
In the beginning, there were three colors. Reds. Yellows. And Blues. All special in their own ways, all living in harmony―until one day, a Red says, “Reds are the best!” and starts a color kerfuffle. When the colors decide to separate, is there anything that can change their minds? A Yellow, a Blue, and a never-before-seen color might just save the day in this inspiring book about color, tolerance, and embracing differences. A message of acceptance and unity.
With a passion for biblical truth and intolerance for lies, Lutzer is compelling and gut-honest, calling us to not only embrace the truth, but also to live according to it, speaking the truth in love to a world so desperately in need of both.
Molly Lou Melon is short and clumsy, has buck teeth, and has a voice that sounds like a bullfrog being squeezed by a boa constrictor. Her grandmother has always told her to walk proud, smile big, and sing loud, and she takes that advice to heart. When Molly Lou starts at a new school, a bully picks on her on the very first day…
Your greatest weapon—for good or evil—is in your mouth. Dr. Tony Evans comes a compelling resource to help you learn to tame your tongue. Don’t let your words bring cursing or destruction to yourself and those you love. Instead, let your words minister to and speak life into the world around you.
PLEASE NOTE: As an Amazon Associate, Fathers Truly Matter earns from qualifying purchases. The information in this post should not be construed as providing specific psychiatric, psychological, or medical advice, but rather to offer readers information to better understand the lives and health of themselves and their children. It is not intended to provide an alternative to professional treatment or to replace the services of a physician, psychiatrist, or psychotherapist.