Walk a Mile in Their Toms


In To Kill a Mockingbird (not Tequila Mockingbird as one of my classes once thought I said only to be disappointed when they got to the library), Atticus Finch (insert admiring sigh here) says, “You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view — until you climb into his skin and walk around in it.” My paraphrase – don’t judge the younger generation until you walk a mile in their Toms.

We adults love to remind the young’uns about when we were kids and expect them to see the world the way we do; however, they have grown up in a completely different world which drastically alters the lens through which they look. Consider this:

Most students who will graduate from college in 2014 . . .

Have never known the Berlin Wall to exist.
May never have “rolled down” a car window.
Have grown up with bottled water.
Have always known Fox as a major network.
Never saw Johnny Carson live on television.
Have always known the World Wide Web as an online tool.
Have always known Sammy Davis Jr., Jim Henson, Steven Ray Vaughan, Martha Graham, Michael Landon, Dr. Seuss, Miles Davis, Gene Roddenberry, Sam Walton, and Bert Parks as dead.
Have always had electronic filing of taxes as an option.
Have never had to talk on a phone connected to the wall.
Have always known Caller ID to be available on phones.
Have always been able to confirm their 98.6 F temperature through their ear.
Have always known Britney Spears as a rock star.
Have always seen colorful lapel ribbons worn to indicate support for a cause.
May never have had to learn to write in cursive.
Have “Barney” to mean a purple dinosaur rather than a character on Flintstones or Andy Griffith.
Have always known hundreds of cable channels.


This doesn’t entitle a generation to act a certain way or excuse them from characteristics that we old folks value, but if we want them to consider our point of view, we must also be willing to consider theirs.

Have a conversation with a student or child this week and purposefully consider his or her point of view.

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