Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Truth and Perspective

There is a children's story based on an old African folk tale I used to love to read to my Pre-K students called "Seven Blind Mice" by Ed Young. In the story, the blind mice each try to understand the strange new object that has come into their environment through their sense of touch. One at a time, each mouse approaches the object, and each mouse concludes it is something different. Their conclusions vary greatly to things like a pillar, a spear and a fan. They all argue about their conclusions until the last mouse goes to explore the strange new object. She runs up one side and down another testing and feeling it until she has covered it in its entirety. The last mouse concludes the other mice are all correct! She explores the object so completely she knows the other mice have all found different parts of the same whole. When she points out her findings to the other mice, they thoroughly explore the same object until they too know the whole truth. The object is an elephant. It is one object with many different features, but until it is explored from every possible perspective you cannot fully appreciate what it is.

Truth is often like this elephant. We grasp the leg, or the tusk or the ear and are convinced we know and understand the whole truth. We form our conclusions accordingly! Are our conclusions wrong? No. They are just incomplete. So many times we argue and bicker over incomplete understandings, and the only thing these arguments do is create tension and separation.

Next time someone confronts you with a different perspective, don't just assume they are wrong and you are right! Be willing to listen to what they say and share what you understand. Ask questions in a loving and peaceful manner. You might just find your understanding of truth greatly increases.

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