My Dad Defied A Stereotype Most People Hold In Their Lives, And I Have Changed So Much Because Of Him

My Dad Defied A Stereotype Most People Hold In Their Lives, And I Have Changed So Much Because Of Him

He has forever changed the way that I look at others.

My Dad Defied A Stereotype Most People Hold In Their Lives, And I Have Changed So Much Because Of Him
Shelby Arnett

As humans, we are prone to making mistakes. We fail, we make assumptions, we make judgments, and sometimes we gossip about others due to rumors we have heard. We are all guilty of these things, including me. However, the people I look up to the most do not fall victim to the stereotype game.

Not once in my life have I ever heard my parents use a stereotype, and this has had quite a positive influence on me.

I saw my parents' words, especially my father's, be put to action through kindness in December of 2018 in Chicago, Illinois. He reminded me that, before stereotyping someone, I need to take a step back from the situation and put myself in that person's shoes. At that moment, I learned that instead of using judgments about a person, I should use kindness instead of a stereotype in any situation.

Once final exams ended and my first semester at the University of Kentucky came to a close, my parents treated my sister and me with a trip to Chicago to celebrate the start of winter break. We had not visited Chicago since our last trip in 2012, so I was ready to embrace the city all over again.

One thing I noticed during the previous trip was the overwhelming number of people roaming the bustling streets, but this past year I also recognized a surprising number of homeless people sitting in alleyways or along sidewalks. However, none of the people passing them by even looked their way as the homeless people asked for money.

I had the idea in mind that homeless people were only asking for money so they could use it for alcohol or drugs, not for a warm meal. I had developed a stereotype about homeless people.

I kept this stereotype in my mind for years until our family returned for our recent trip to Chicago. On our second day there, my dad and I left to explore the city while my sister and mom went to see "Hamilton," the Broadway show. As we made our way towards Navy Pier and passed yet another homeless person, my dad stopped in his tracks with a shocked expression on his face. We both turned around and I noticed that it was a woman sitting in one of the alleyways.

At first look, I believed this woman was the same as the others I had seen, but once I analyzed her more clearly, I realized she had two young children with her, too.

She also was not begging for money like other homeless people had been doing, and I could not believe my eyes. Without hesitation, my dad took a $20 bill from his wallet, walked over to the woman, and said, "Please take care of yourself and your children."

The woman, crying, said, "I will, sir. My children always come first." As my dad walked away with me, I watched as he wiped away tears from his own eyes.

At that moment, I saw my father use his genuine kindness to benefit a stranger who was in a situation of need.

Despite the stereotype, there may be behind homeless people wanting money for drugs or alcohol, my dad chose to overlook the stereotype. He will forever serve as my role model for many reasons, but his kind actions at that moment went above and beyond what I ever expected.

I learned a significant lesson that day in Chicago. My father could have walked right by the woman with the assumption that she simply wanted money, but instead, he adjusted his attitude. He reminded me to remain kind, because I may not know someone's full story, especially that of a stranger. I do not know what they may be going through.

Everyone's story is different, and everyone is fighting a different battle. By putting myself in that someone else's shoes, I realized the importance of breaking the stereotyping routine.

Report this Content
This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.

119 People Reveal How The Pandemic Has Affected Their Love Lives, And Honestly... Relatable

"I haven't been able to get out of the 'talking phase' with anyone."

The reality is, there's no part of life the pandemic hasn't affected. Whether it's your work life, your home life, your social life, or your love life, coronavirus (COVID-19) is wreaking havoc on just about everything — not to mention people's health.

When it comes to romance, in particular, people are all handling things differently and there's no "right way" of making it through, regardless of your relationship status (single, taken, married, divorced, you name it). So, some of Swoon's creators sought out to hear from various individuals on how exactly their love lives have been affected since quarantine began.

Keep Reading... Show less

Megan Thee Stallion and Cardi B just dropped the hottest summer single yet. It's called "WAP" and we're going to get into all the intoxicating lyrics.

This song empowers females and their sexuality. These women put the ridiculous music industry female beef to bed, and I mean tucked away in a coma.

Keep Reading... Show less

How To Write Down The Holy Grail Recipe Everyone Begs You To Make

Because everyone has a signature cocktail, cake, or pasta they bring to every potluck.


From back when I used to bring my mom's classic white chocolate chip cookies to preschool on my birthday to now stirring up my signature tequila cocktails at every friends' barbecue, I've always had a couple of standby recipes in my culinary rotation.

Keep Reading... Show less

Meet My Cat: Cheshire, The Stray Turned House Cat Who Lives in Michigan

I never considered myself a cat person, but Chess immediately stole my heart.

Madelyn Darbonne

In 2016, a stray cat gave birth to a litter of three grey kittens on my aunt and uncle's property. I had never considered myself to be much of a cat person, but these furballs immediately stole my heart. I got to watch them grow up until they were old enough to leave their mother's side.

Keep Reading... Show less

How To Binge-Watch A TV Show —And Then Write A Review About It

Writing your favorite and least favorite things about a show could not be more fun.

Photo by Mollie Sivaram on Unsplash

Looking for a new show to binge? Stop scrolling through your options and listen.

Sometimes a good show doesn't come down to the genre or the actors involved, it comes down to the fact that it is simply a GOOD show. If any of these things sound appealing to you, you should definitely watch.

Keep Reading... Show less
Health and Wellness

11 Reasons Why Getting A Cat Is The Best Thing You Can Do For Your Mental Health

Cats may mess up your puzzles but they'll always love you unconditionally — as long as you have some catnip, that is.

Scout Guarino

Alright, everyone, it's time to stop spreading the rumor that all cats are mean, aloof, and hate everyone. Like dogs, each cat has its own personality and tendencies. Some like a lot of attention, some like less — each person has to find the right cat for them. As for me, my cats Bienfu and Reptar have seen me at my worst, but they've also helped pull me out of it. They're a constant in my life and they give me the strength to get through the day in spite of my depression, and there's even scientific evidence to support it!

Keep Reading... Show less

I've been bleaching my hair since I was in seventh grade. Yes, you read that correctly, seventh grade. That's nearly 10 years of maintaining a very light shade of blonde that too-often brings about dryness and brittle strands.

Keep Reading... Show less

Chances are if you're here, you're probably interested in writing an open letter. Yay! We're excited to have you.

Of course, not all open letters are created equal. In fact, there's a recipe to writing one for Odyssey that'll get featured on one of our many verticals. When it comes to Swoon specifically (for those new around here, that's our dating and relationships vertical), we receive dozens of open letters each month, many of which are all very similar.

Keep Reading... Show less

With a new phone comes great responsibility: Do not break it! And the best way to do that is with a case. However, picking a case can be a challenge. No need to fret, I am here to help break down some of the best cases for the new iPhone SE 2020. Honestly, I think it's going to be impossible to choose!

Keep Reading... Show less

To some who have been out of the dating world for a while, it can be hard to get back into the swing of things after being single for some time. So, I asked 26 people what they think is important to know before looking for love again, here's what they had to say.

Keep Reading... Show less
Facebook Comments