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“Don’t judge a book by its cover.” This is a common statement made throughout our lives. It refers in a literal sense that you should read into a book before making an opinion about it. But it also refers to people and ideas. First impressions do have a great factor on our society today. But for people who look past these first impressions and try to get to know the person on a deeper level, well it will help them succeed in life.
I know it has made a huge impact on my life.
Everyone can recall the first days or even months of high school. We all walked through those big castle doors wondering what this new school was going to be like and who we would meet. I remember think I knew exactly who would be my friends, just from a first glance. However, as the days turned into months and the months into a semester, I realized that some of my first impressions of people were completely off.
By just looking at someone we think we know them, but the truth is a first impression is nothing but a cover to a deep and intricate story.
Growing up I have always questioned whether my dad was my real dad. Just because I don’t have his dark complexion meant that everyone doubted the validity of him being my dad. The first few times it’s all right but after the twentieth time it starts to take a toll on a child.
The summer before I began my junior year of high school my family went to visit our friends in Monona. Their oldest daughter Caitlin was going to be graduating in 2009 so my dad was going to take a few senior photos. He decided to take Caitlin, her little sister Cara and I to Dream Park and take pictures of all three of us. It was tons of fun. Toward the end of the shoot a woman who was at the park with her children approached us. She asked if we knew “this man” that was taking pictures of us because she believed that him taking photos of us was inappropriate. We answered yes, and I told her that he was my father. Still giving my dad a strange and disapproving look, she asked, “Your step- father?” I replied to her with a strong “No” finally understanding where this was headed. She then proceeded to ask if he was my biological father and if I was sure. I was used to people questioning whether he was my father or not, but I had never met someone with the nerve to ask if I was sure. We continued on, ignoring the woman who was giving us a death glare. I had never experienced that type of judgment before in my life. That one experience was like a gateway to a greater understanding. To me he was just my dad, his height, his hair color and most certainly his skin tone had no affect on me. But to the outside world he had to be categorized.
That moment was a real wake up call. It made me wonder how many people a day are judged based on their appearance. Looking at someone can not tell you who they really are; all it does is allow others to make assumptions about them. I believe in getting to know the real person, the person beneath the stern face or the dark skin. Only then can you give a true opinion. On a daily basis there are many people that you see but never have a chance to meet. So meet as many people as you can, take the time to really get to know them for the people they are and not the way others perceive them to be. Don’t judge a book by its cover.
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