4 Ways To Be Mindful Of Others

4 Ways To Be Mindful Of Others

Learning to see through other people's eyes in four short steps.
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The way I see it, to be mindful of someone you need to show a certain degree of respect for them regardless of age, gender, race, etc. Respect does not equal being in agreement with everyone and everything they say. However, respect applies to one another's right to be happy and live their lives. If you ever wonder if you're correctly displaying this, ask yourself these questions:

1. Am I demonstrating ignorance?

I'm sure I don't need to tell you that we live on a pretty big planet, harboring an ever-growing population of seven billion people. We all come from different cultural backgrounds, which makes the world diverse and should be celebrated. Names and traditions common to other nations should not be shocking because they display an originality and a creativity that is uniquely human. So when you are confronted with something unfamiliar, instead of immediately judging it, try to understand it and find something about it that you like. You could even make some friends that way!

2. Is what I'm saying or doing necessary?

Sometimes we make fun of people for no real reason with no purpose to our actions or words. Next time you say something negative about someone, think to yourself: "Do I need to be saying this?" If you're saying it behind their back, the answer is likely no. If you're saying it to their face, think about whether it will just hurt them or whether it will actually help them fix their lives. And just to be clear, pointing out imperfections falls under the "Unnecessary" category because often those are uncontrollable. Pointing out someone's acne won't make it magically disappear, and will probably make the person feel overwhelmingly self-conscious.

Just saying.

3. Am I infringing on their right to be who they are?

This is an extremely important point similar to the fact that we come from different cultures. News flash: we also all have different personalities. Making someone feel bad about the things they are passionate about is disrespectful to their humanity and to the way that they were created. It drives me crazy when I hear comments about how "Weird" someone else's hobby is when a lot of times it's really just a display of originality. It's not wrong to be different, it's exciting. Treat people as such.

4. Am I making everything about me?

Finally, you have to put yourself in someone else's perspective. You could be saying, "Stop being dramatic" to someone who believes they have every right to make a big deal about their situation. You never want to make someone feel as if their struggles are insignificant. An example is the argument that other people have had it worse. Can we actually get people to stop saying that? You would never look at a person with one black eye asking for help and say "I have two black eyes so suck it up" because that does nothing to change the fact that the other person is suffering. Emotional stress is the same way, you just can't see it.

If you take the time to really think about these things, you could really make a difference. People tend to gravitate to those who understand them, and there's no way you can understand someone else if you make everything about you. So next time you say or do something someone else finds offensive, instead of immediately justifying go through the steps and see if you are being ignorant or prejudiced. We are equal but different, and we cannot coexist until we've all realized that and put it into practice.

Cover Image Credit: Pexels

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This Is How Your Same-Sex Marriage Affects Me As A Catholic Woman

I hear you over there, Bible Bob.
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It won't.

Wait, what?

I promise you did read that right. Not what you were expecting me to say, right? Who another person decides to marry will never in any way affect my own marriage whatsoever. Unless they try to marry the person that I want to, then we might have a few problems.

As a kid, I was raised, baptized, and confirmed into an old school Irish Catholic church in the middle of a small, midwestern town.

Not exactly a place that most people would consider to be very liberal or open-minded. Despite this I was taught to love and accept others as a child, to not cast judgment because the only person fit to judge was God. I learned this from my Grandpa, a man whose love of others was only rivaled by his love of sweets and spoiling his grandkids.

While I learned this at an early age, not everyone else in my hometown — or even within my own church — seemed to get the memo. When same-sex marriage was finally legalized country-wide, I cried tears of joy for some of my closest friends who happen to be members of the LGBTQ community.

I was happy while others I knew were disgusted and even enraged.

"That's not what it says in the bible! Marriage is between a man and a woman!"

"God made Adam and Eve for a reason! Man shall not lie with another man as he would a woman!"

"Homosexuality is a sin! It's bad enough that they're all going to hell, now we're letting them marry?"

Alright, Bible Bob, we get it, you don't agree with same-sex relationships. Honestly, that's not the issue. One of our civil liberties as United States citizens is the freedom of religion. If you believe your religion doesn't support homosexuality that's OK.

What isn't OK is thinking that your religious beliefs should dictate others lives.

What isn't OK is using your religion or your beliefs to take away rights from those who chose to live their life differently than you.

Some members of my church are still convinced that their marriage now means less because people are free to marry whoever they want to. Honestly, I wish I was kidding. Tell me again, Brenda how exactly do Steve and Jason's marriage affect yours and Tom's?

It doesn't. Really, it doesn't affect you at all.

Unless Tom suddenly starts having an affair with Steve their marriage has zero effect on you. You never know Brenda, you and Jason might become best friends by the end of the divorce. (And in that case, Brenda and Tom both need to go to church considering the bible also teaches against adultery and divorce.)

I'll say it one more time for the people in the back: same-sex marriage does not affect you even if you or your religion does not support it. If you don't agree with same-sex marriage then do not marry someone of the same sex. Really, it's a simple concept.

It amazes me that I still actually have to discuss this with some people in 2017. And it amazes me that people use God as a reason to hinder the lives of others.

As a proud young Catholic woman, I wholeheartedly support the LGBTQ community with my entire being.

My God taught me to not hold hate so close to my heart. He told me not to judge and to accept others with open arms. My God taught me to love and I hope yours teaches you the same.

Disclaimer - This article in no way is meant to be an insult to the Bible or religion or the LGBTQ community.

Cover Image Credit: Sushiesque / Flickr

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Class Size May Matter, But Accountability Matters More

If students take the time to think, they will realize their own potential.
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When it comes to the topic of education, decisions are often made, but not quite acted upon. On the left, we have advocates that look to fund the educational system in hope of bettering the kids’ futures. On the right, education is addressed with a degree of leniency, paired with more of an advocacy for occupational programs and trade schools.

One of the more frequently debated matters regarding education, more specifically K-12, is classroom size. For many schools, a lack of funding has caused many teachers to quit; consequentially, with less teachers, more students, inevitably, have to cram into the same classroom. The student-teacher ratio, in some schools, has gone beyond 30:1. In some cases, the overcrowding issue for a classroom is so profound that a student doesn’t have his or her own desk to sit in.

Due to this notice of classroom size increase, in correlation with declining academic performance, a considerable majority of education reformers believe that the classroom size increase is more of causation. The only issue with this argument, however, is that for a contributing factor to constitute causation, it must be the sole reason that another variable must occur. With correlation, however, there are multiple variables (more than two) that can occur within a specific time span. These variables could potentially influence one another’s behavior, but never fully dictate the outcome.

What the common argument fails to account for is accountability itself. Accountability is not something that is taught in the classroom, nor should it be. This is a crucial part to a child’s success, both in the classroom, and in real life. A perfect example of this is within a lecture hall. In a lecture hall, you could have upwards of more than 150 students in the same room, listening to and meticulously noting all of the essential details to a professor’s lecture. It is up to the student to learn the material with the tools they are given, not the teacher to hold their hand through the class.

The only responsibility of any teacher or instructor is to provide the appropriate materials and knowhow for the student to guide themselves. This prepares the student for more rigorous learning material and tasks, resulting in more favorable opportunities, both scholastic and occupational.

For the teacher to implement the right tools, however, requires that the student can and will hold themselves accountable for their success in the course. Such accountability falls back on the basis of good parenting. As education has shifted, the blame of failure for a student in a class also shifted.

The shift has taken place from the student losing their privileges and extracurricular activities, to the teacher potentially losing their job (which is especially daunting with the threat of new teachers not obtaining tenure). With the latter portion of the Millennial Generation, along with Generation Z, parents bearing excessive leniency and overall apathy have made for a widespread mindset that fails to take responsibility for itself.

It’s time for parents to be accountable for their kids, and for the kids to be accountable for their own success. A system is only as useful as those that utilize it.

Cover Image Credit: Tra Nguyen

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