From another’s perspective, it’s possible to see things you may otherwise have missed or learn things you might otherwise not even imagine.
My Somali friends told me about how soon children become independent and how close families are in their homeland. Though we in America wouldn’t condone young marriages or setting kids off on their own at 15, we could learn from the way families teach and take care of each other, and how even young children prepare meals and tend siblings.
Listening to them caused me to look at how more time together could impact our families.
My young friend who is living in England said his associates there were surprised at our election-year hoopla over health care and support of the elderly.
“Why wouldn’t you in America take care of people who are sick or who are older?” they ask him.
Listening to him made me think that priority should continue to be placed on helping those in need, even if it means sacrificing in other ways.
A speaker talking about his native India listed all the discoveries and inventions made by people from India who now live in America.
Listening to him reminded me about what great things have happened in this country because we have welcomed people from all different walks of life and their ideas and their skills and their hard work.
When you’re coming from a different place, you see things differently. When you listen to people who come from a different place and you are willing to look at things from their angle, you can see things differently too. And maybe not only will your eyes be opened a little wider, but maybe your heart will be too.
Perspective can change with time or with experience.
Just as often, perspective can change by moving to a different place, by finding a new angle.
As reporters, we see and hear different perspectives a lot.
One person thinks higher taxes will help make better schools. One person can’t afford to pay higher taxes.
One person thinks progress requires more oil production in Davis County. One person thinks Davis County citizens shouldn’t have to deal with more air problems.
Looking nationally, one person thinks guns will solve problems. Another thinks guns are the problem.
One person thinks we need to spend more money to keep the economy moving. Another person thinks we need to curtail that spending for the same reason.
The danger comes in thinking our perspectives are the only ones.
It’s what comes from a closed mind. It’s what makes the ugly American.
Being willing to look at something from someone else’s perspective brings understanding, acceptance, maybe even answers.
It starts with looking, but for even greater impact, it’s better if we all make sure we’re listening.