We underestimate others.

We have all heard the old adage, “Don’t judge a book by its cover.”  The warning is to not make quick judgements about people.  If we don’t dig beneath the surface, we can underestimate them, which also means we can undervalue them.

At first glance, in a public setting, Nick is an adult male, typically in a wheelchair, slumped over to one side, looking at a white string or airplane that he is holding.  Even if others take the time to try and talk to him, he doesn’t always respond immediately.  Often, because of his communication disorder and delay in processing things, he will actually respond many minutes later after the person has left.

And then there are other times, when he will interject comments into a conversation.  These comments tend to be short.  Using just a few words, his insight is profound, succinct  and appropriate to the topics being discussed.  In those moments, we all learn from his wisdom.  It’s as if the fog in his brain lifts and he clearly sees things in ways that we all don’t.  He makes his fervent pronouncement then nods while looking at his dad or me.  Sometimes he will even tell us, “I right?” and then the fog descends and he is again gazing at his toy.  I watch and wait for these heartfelt proclamations.

I believe that each of us has something to contribute.  It’s important that we honor, respect and value each other.  Look beyond the first impression, your first interactions and seek to discover the treasures of wisdom and insight that others hold.  Even the smallest child can teach us great truths.  Taking the time to stop and listen will enrich your life.

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