I took my little girl Trick-or-Treating yesterday and we bumped into the Wicked Witch of the West. This wonderful woman dresses up, prosthetics and all, every year with her husband. Every year they decorate their entire yard, and every year they hand out the best treats. This year it was pouring miserably, yet she still did the whole costume and handed out candy on her front porch, getting soaked in the process. I think she’s wonderful, but to a five-year-old she looks pretty scary.

At first my daughter, usually brave (but she’s particularly afraid of witches - thanks Disney!) was terrified. But this lady is so unbelievably sweet, that when we left the house my daughter was upset to go. On the way across the street she said to me, “That witch looked scary, but she wasn’t scary at all! She was really, really nice!” to which I replied, “Well honey, sometimes people who look nasty are nice, and some people who look nice are nasty.” She asked if she could go back to the house and tell her how much she liked her decorations, and I encouraged her (as I frequently do) and took her back across the street to give the lady a compliment.

My point is this:

How long ago did our parents teach us these same lessons?

Be nice to people. Don’t judge a book by its cover. Treat everyone equally.

Yet as adults, or teenagers, if you really think about how you react to people over the course of your day, we all still judge people as soon as we see them, regardless if we intend to or not. I’m human, I do it too.

When was the last time you were standing near someone, waiting, and struck up a conversation? Why or why not? Did they not look like your ‘type’ of person? Maybe it looked as if they didn’t speak your language, or you assumed you had nothing in common. Maybe you didn’t want to seem weird. Maybe you were scared – what if they’re a serial killer? I have these feelings too sometimes, despite how hard I try. Why do we pick and choose like this? What opportunities are we missing?

When we were kids, we just looked at someone, no pretense, and we just knew we’d be friends. “Hey! My name’s Rachel! Wanna play?” And off you went. That was it.

I propose this:

The next time you leave the house, wherever you are, strike up a conversation with someone. Or, walk up to them with your umbrella and hold it over them if you are waiting in the same spot. (I did that yesterday for a pregnant lady and it felt fantastic when she smiled and thanked me – I hope I made her day). Be nice to a telemarketer. Okay, maybe just until they start to get pushy, but you see my point. Put your automatic judgments aside. (And while you’re at it, stop assuming that hot guy/chick that you work with/go to school with is too good for you – they may not be good enough!)

Who knows? You may make a new friend. If not, well, you’ve at least made someone’s day.

*I’d love to hear some stories! If you shout, “Challenge accepted!” (I know you just heard Barney Stinson’s voice there) and dive it into it, please share!*

****UPDATE***** My daughter made the witch a card and we walked it over to her house and dropped it in her mailbox. About two weeks later the witch, Cathy, mailed us a thank you card. It says:

'I am so sorry I missed you when you dropped off that beautiful card that you made just for me. Wow, what a great card and you made our day. That card is on my fridge for everyone to see that comes into our home, and it will stay there. I also want to thank you for coming back and giving me the witch the best hug I have ever had. Make sure that next Halloween you come back because the witch & the monster will have a special gift just for you. Your mom is so right, it does not matter what someone looks like, I am a nurse and the two monsters - one is a retired police officer and the other one is an awesome security guard at the Casino. Again thank-you Keira.
Rachel, thank-you for that awesome blog. I have been the witch and so love it and I will be the witch as long as I can. Your blog made me cry, I so thank you. But I so want to thank you for having your daughter come back and giving me the best hug, but also for explaining to her, it does not matter what a person looks like, it is what you are on the inside. All these years I have been the witch - in Forest Glade, and I thank you for understanding my message.'

Pass it on... :)

Juggernaut: Book 1
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Published on November 01, 2013 07:55 • 191 views • Tags: inspiration, prejudice, writing
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message 1: by Judy (last edited Nov 03, 2013 02:30PM) (new)

Judy Great blog!! CHALLENGE ACCEPTED!!

I was saying hi all weekend in Frankenmuth and smiling at people and most times, got a Hi or how are ya back...the ones that didn't, no biggie. We actually had two nice border guards - even on the US side! I always chat up my cashier, bank customer service rep, the delivery guys that come into the office. AND...I have a jar of mini Tootsie pops that I always offer to anyone who comes in to see me - you would be surprised how often people tell me they love them - even guys in suits LOL
I will also call someone or tell someone who has taken my order for supplies for the office just how great it was to deal with them. I'm sure it makes their day and they sure continue to give me great service. My dad always told us "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you" and also "when you give or do something nice for someone, it will always come back one hundred fold". In my experience, it sure works!
There are lots of great people out there...we just seem to notice the not so great ones and not nuture the good ones. Thanks for sharing and have a great day!

PS - waiting on Chapters 11-13 - you did say there were only 3 more...

message 2: by Rachel (new)

Rachel Pieters Judith wrote: "Great blog!! CHALLENGE ACCEPTED!!

I was saying hi all weekend in Frankenmuth and smiling at people and most times, got a Hi or how are ya back...the ones that didn't, no biggie. We actually had ..."

Ha! I love it!

When I was a kid my mom always chatted up everybody. What a great example to follow! I actually brought my daughter back to the witch's house to give her a card she had made. The lady wasn't home, but I hope it makes her day when she finds it in her mailbox.
My mom always said the same too, but it was a Wiccan saying "Whatever you do comes back you three times, whether it is bad or good." What great words to live by.

And yes, I am outlining chapter 11 today, will be along hopefully in another 2 or 3 weeks... :)

message 3: by Judy (new)

Judy People used to be very friendly but then cell phones came along and now most people are always chatting o those or texting...

Well you know where to send Chapter 11 when you're ready. Can't wait! :)

message 4: by Ellie (new)

Ellie Well said honey, except for the telemarketer thing, I just refuse to get along. No one told them to call me and I hate unwanted phone calls. Just sayin'. I love you! Your Mamma

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The Write Road

Rachel Pieters
When you're on the right road, you don't always know it immediately in your head, but it feels right in your heart. That's how I felt when I started writing. My blog is an outlet for my insights and t ...more
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