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  • Writer's pictureStephen

Removing Our Blinders

I grew up in the rolling hills of Southeastern Pennsylvania, the heart of Pennsylvania Dutch Country.  My next-door neighbors drove a horse and buggy and it was not uncommon to see Amish and Mennonite families driving them all around our community every day. Because these carriages and their "horse power" were regularly interfacing with cars and trucks, the horses could sometimes get startled or become skittish if a car or truck came along too quickly in their peripheral vision. As a result, most of them wore blinders around their eyes which limited their vision to just the road right in front of them.

I've been thinking about that metaphor after my message on The Us vs Them Lens from last week.  To be more specific, I had a great follow up conversation with someone about how we can get stuck in our own tribes and our own echo chambers, only able to see and hear others with our same perspective.  I'm sure you can see where I am going with this! 

It's so easy to only view life through our personal perspective, like we have blinders on. We only talk and listen to people who share our same values, or politics, or religion, or views on life, or whatever.  And let's be honest, when we keep those blinders on it IS easier to not be startled or shocked by something outside of our perspective. While that may feel more safe in the short term, in the long run it only reinforces our simplified view and makes it more difficult to set down that Us vs Them Lens.

This is why it is so important to take our blinders off and look at life from a much broader perspective.  We need to seek out alternative views and see if we can listen to and learn from them.  We need to figure out ways to interact with people who aren't the same as we are, and who can offer us an alternative way to see life.  We need to read books that we wouldn't normally read and listen to other kinds of music instead of the same old playlist.

Now don't get me wrong, I am not saying this is an all or nothing approach. It's still great to listen to U2 (because they are the greatest band ever!), but it's also a good idea to listen to that new album from that new artist that you just heard about too.  This is about making a both/and choice, not just an either/or choice.  We still need to keep our eyes focused on the road in front of us, but we also need to take the blinders off and have a look around at the beauty and diversity of the wider world around us too!

In what areas of your life have you been tempted to keep your blinders on?  How could you make some intentional choices to take them off and look around for some alternate views?  Who do you already know that has a different perspective than you - someone you could engage in some healthy and respectful dialogue with in order to listen and learn from them (notice I didn't say, convince them of your perspective!)? Who could you ask to give you a book or a music recommendation that you know would be different from your normal playlist?

Here's to removing our blinders a little more this week!

Be Well,


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