Creative and Judgmental Creatures
By our own curious natures we are also judgmental creatures. The thing is we can be curious without being judgmental. Is there some middle ground we can find?
Most people say children are not judgmental but rather curious. We hear that children are taught to be judgmental by viewing others’ actions. I was one of those children that fell in a between spot on the subject. If I didn’t understand something then I didn’t like it and made quick judgments even when I was curious. My parents had to teach me to not only be patient but to sit back and review what was going on before making a decision. This certainly meant thinking before opening my mouth and sharing rash thoughts.
My dad defined himself as being a company man because of his years in the navy. As someone who served his country, my dad felt that his country came before himself. As he got older he would joke that all he did was switch companies. The companies being (in order): the US Navy, Ma Bell (the original AT&T), husband and finally family man.
As a company man my dad would say “Mine is not to reason why. Mine is but to do or die.” The quote was my dad’s adaptation of Tennyson’s Charge of the Light Brigade. What my dad meant by sharing those words was that he had a job to do. That he felt as if he didn’t need to question his job and that his position was to fix the problem and help, not hinder or harm. At times questioning does lead to judging and he felt as if his job was not to judge.
My father’s interpretation of not judging or being judgmental has stayed with me my entire life. Whether I am trying not to judge or if I feel the need to be a follower rather than be a leader, I tend to quote my dad. Sometimes people get it and other times I have a few blank stares and maybe an odd look. As long as I know what I mean by sharing those words that is what matters.
At times that quote is my internal and external monologue. It serves as a reminder beyond not being judgmental. The quote inspires me at times when I want to give up, take another route, and/or to move forward. The quote helps remind me of a need to be a follower at times where I want to be the leader.
That said… Here is a BIG judgment:
People need to THINK before they speak and act
Recently I have read quite a few thoughts of how teachers are viewing the next generation. The reaction is worry and concern that the next generation doesn’t know how to be bored and they expect instant gratification.
It is human nature to want to NOT be bored and to want things instantly. That is why we invent gadgets to “make our lives easier”. The next generation is in an interesting position because so many things are instantly at our finger tips.
This strong need for instant gratification can lead to detrimental effects and overall bad behavior like being overly judgmental. Also reacting and speaking without thinking about the cause and effect. If we have things instantly at our fingertips we do not always take the time to think before we speak and react.
Right now most of us bear witness to this by how others interact with us in public or through what we read on social media.
So how can we stop judgmental behavior? How can we help teach the next generation that there is a balance?
Truthfully I don’t think there is just one answer or a good solid fix.
Social media is plastered with stories of displeased adults taking to the internet to call out someone. A nee to let the world decide who was right and who was wrong in a situation. That form of shaming on social media is an option towards taking others to task for their quick but thoughtless actions. While an option, this action in itself can be seen as a negative response to something already negative.
There have been times I myself have asked for thoughts (of my Facebook friends) on a situation I found myself in without wanting to call a specific person out. It is a hard urge to fight. What comes to mind as I am fighting this urge is the phrase “two wrongs don’t make a right”. Even when you are the correct party maybe your response is just as wrong or maybe not. I can tell you after making the post and asking the question sometimes I feel guilty. Should I feel guilty if my action is the “right” one?
In terms of social media, un-friending and un-liking is an option if you personally know someone who always seems to be judgmental. While this tactic is a bit on the passive aggressive side sometimes we all need to walk away from negative thinkers. Walking away is better than feeding into the situation further.
Leading by example is a good, but more difficult, option. Subtle hints and actions take time to exact change. Knowing when it is the right time to stand up and speak out, let alone what words to use, is a challenge.
In the articles I have read they state that society needs to teach children how to be bored as boredom is the opposite of instant gratification. Personally I feel boredom and creativity go hand in hand. If necessity is the mother of all invention then boredom is the catalyst for creativity. Boredom activates the creative mind.
So we want to teach the next generation to be less judgmental? We want them to THINK before they react?
Then we need to teach children that being bored isn’t something we can fix by just turning on our smart phones or electronic devices. We need to jumpstart their creative mind.
I remind my nephews that the world is not always as it appears let alone what we have wanted or planned. Sometimes the world is even better than imagined. To see beyond one must put aside judgmental behavior and accept that not everything is for us to “know” right this minute. That is a very hard task to carry out let alone teach.
What do you think the cure for boredom is? Is there something more to this next generation and their potential for great harm due to quick judgments and rash decisions?