My son was convinced that he wouldn’t like the food, even though he had never tried it. How often do we make up our minds about something, even though we have no personal prior experience with it? We decide we don’t like a new colleague because she reminds us of someone else we know, or she took the place of a colleague who had become a close friend. We’re convinced we won’t agree with or like a particular book because of a review we’ve read. We carry prejudices against a person or group of people because of what our parents told us years ago. We dislike a type of animal, or a hobby, or a certain food, because a family member or friend dislikes it. Or we favor one particular brand of beverage, food, or restaurant, or use some product—and are convinced that we wouldn’t like the “other” brand—because it’s what we’ve always used. It seems that often our minds are “set in stone.” Opinions, expectations, perceptions, etc. are solidified and are unlikely to change voluntarily.
Once I spent a few days in Florida with my extended family. My 10-year-old nephew set about crafting a beautiful alligator in the sand. His sculpture looked very realistic when it was done! Fortunately, I was able to take some photos of it to enhance the memory of the occasion, because with time, the sand sculpture was sure to disappear. Waves, rain, or tourists’ footsteps eventually change the terrain so that new creations can take the place of this one. Unlike artwork crafted in stone, the shifting sands allow for diverse creative expression, as well as correcting mistakes along the way.
Obviously, there are some morals and values that we should adhere to without bending. These are the absolutes in life, which should be set in stone. However, when it comes to our thoughts and perceptions about and attitudes toward other people and other ways of doing things, do our minds tend to be set in stone? If so, we may be missing opportunities to form new friendships, broaden our social and emotional repertoire, and to expand our personal, social, and professional horizons!