Try Walking in Their Shoes
There is a story about the aid worker who brought wheat seed to the village so the people could plant and have grain to sell and food for the winter. When he came back, the people were very thankful for the wheat but the fields were barren. The people cooked the wheat. They ate the seed. They were hungry.
Sometimes we have to try to see things thru other people’s eyes. The aid worker saw people who would benefit from a wheat crop. He failed to see that they were starving.
I have had those brain spasms when I saw things only thru my eyes instead of others. Heard it over and over. Walk a mile in their shoes. We complain about a pot hole or a crooked line on our highways. There are people who are happy just to have a road.
We were in a chopper on a mission in Honduras and crossed close to the top of mountain. I looked down and there was a little shack with a man waving at us. We were only about 100ft from the ground.
I waved back and mentioned to the pilot, “How did he get up there?” We crossed over the top and then made a slow circle to take a look at the mountain terrain. A narrow pathway twisted among the rocks and ledges down the mountain.
It would take the man and his family an hour to walk down the mountain. Why would he live there? What about food? He grows it. What about medical treatment? Comes down the mountain and another hour walk to the village in the valley.
What about??? The pilot circled a little lower on the mountain. Thru small clearings we could see little houses with their gardens, a few chickens or other livestock. The pilot smiled. “Doc, these people are comfortable with their lives. You think everyone should live like the people in Pittsburgh.”
Isn’t it true? We can help a lot of people but we have to help them based on what they need, not what we think they need. When rebuilding the faces of wounded soldiers, the first priority was to make sure that they would have a face. Repair the foundation…bones, muscles and tissue.
Equipment and supplies were limited. We didn’t worry as much about a scar as we did about whether they would be able to see, talk or eat again. Thru the eyes of the soldier, he was happy he was alive. Thru my eyes, I wanted him to be perfect.
It is a maturing process in the profession. It can’t be taught in the classroom. It comes from listening and listening and listening to the other person. As you read, ‘it’s not what I know… it how I learned it”, I hope you will see how I progressed thru the learning process.
The interesting part is that I still continue to learn and mature. About the time I think I’ve heard it all before, I learn a little more. When you think you know, you probably don’t. When you think you know everything…you don’t.
Make it a great day