During the Christmas season I visited family in South Carolina. During that time, a nephew and I discussed sayings and why some are thought-provoking. It started when he received a text (yes, he is a text-a-holic) that read, “it is better to understand than be understood”. When he received the text, he shared it with me, and we both pondered the words before speaking and sharing our thoughts about the subject. How those words ring true! I would much rather understand a person, idea, or situation than be understood. When I understand a situation, a person and why or how that person behaves or thinks or speaks, I understand how that fits into my life. I know what I am, who I am, and what I stand for. Hopefully, the people who know me well also knows what I am, who I am, and what I stand for, so I do not feel that I need to be understood by the masses. But, when I understand the actions of those people I do not know, an idea that is new to me, or a situation that is foreign to me, I can accept that or reject that into my life. For instance, take the illegal immigration debate that is “hot” right now.
After much reading, knowing the living conditions of where the illegal immigrants came from, and understanding how they may think they have found a golden opportunity of freedom and riches, I understand why this issue is so big. There is a million other reasons, also,on why this issue is big, but I am not going to address them. I only want to know if I understand the stakes in the debate. And, I think I do on a very elementary level. That is all I need to understand for me to make a stand one way or the other. The same holds true for the “bully” in school or work, and why one parent disciplines or shows love toward a child and another parent has a different style. The list continues throughout our life. We are all a product of our past and the past of those who surround us, and if we understand that, then we may be able to start to understand the neighbor beside us or across the sea. I want to understand. I want to get along. I want a world filled with harmony, and if I take care of me by understanding my neighbor, then I don’t need to be understood because the next person will understand when it comes to me. Or so I think in my idealistic world.
Hey, I know this is a bit philosophical, but every once in awhile it is good to get the ole noodle working…
Here’s a thought for next time. I received it from “Word a day” — “Words differently arranged have different meanings and meanings differently arranged have a different effect” — Blaise Pascal, philosopher and mathematician (1623-1662).