As part of my kick off to the shorter days and darker nights of the fall season, I’ve begun reading a couple hours in the evening before bed most weeknights. The last 2 books I’ve read have been autobiographies, and from them, I’ve been reminded (of the obvious) that people have different backgrounds and experiences than I have.
The first book I read was from a man whose father was Nigerian and whose mother was from Kansas. The focus of the book was on the influences of the 7 “fathers” this man had in his life that shaped and mentored him into the person he is today.
The second book (that I’m actually still reading) is about the bass player for the band Guns N Roses, and his journey through music, drugs, addition, and recovery. Let’s just say that this guy had a wild ride!
What I appreciate about both of these books is that they gave me a glimpse into another person’s life. From that, I see how their experiences, fears, and desires influenced their thought process, and, ultimately, the choices they made, both when they were younger, and now that they’re older.
When I learn about the experiences, challenges, and struggles other people have faced, whether directly from them, or reading about it in a book, I find that it causes me to be less judgmental, especially when I don’t know their story. It’s easy to cast judgement through the filter of my own experiences. Occasionally, those judgements are correct. More often though, I realize that things aren’t usually as black and white as my experience would say that they are. I find that my initial snap judgements are often unwarranted, due to my lack of understanding and consideration of their experiences.
I’m grateful for opportunities to learn more about peoples’ lives, either through books or in person.