Remember when your parents told you not to judge a book by its cover?
Why did they tell you that, and where did it come from? Isn’t that part of how you choose a book? Isn’t that the piece that’s supposed to entice you to read the book? The cover is supposed to be welcoming, inviting, intriguing. So why would we not judge by the cover?
Here’s a different way to look at it. Maybe we should be enticed by the cover of the book, maybe that cover should allow us to dive in a little deeper. When you decide you want to go see a movie, is it because of the cover of the DVD case or is the because of the trailer. . . or is it because you heard it was good via word of mouth, or was it because you saw the last one form the sequel and it was good. Think more about that, when you saw the trailer and then the movie, was it not as good as you thought because all the good parts were already shown in the trailer? When you heard it was good via word of mouth and then saw it and it wasn’t that good, did you ever stop to think that the person you heard that from has different taste than you? When you were super excited because the last one in the sequel was so good and then this one didn’t add up, did you think about how sometimes things change and just because the first part you saw was great doesn’t mean it will always be great?
Reverse all those thoughts, because they can all go both ways. Someone might say they hate something, but you might actually love it. A sneak peak may not be the best you’ve seen, but once you see more or learn more, you might be completely sold! Just because something wasn’t your favorite the first time, give it one more go and see if anything changed. You might be surprised 😊
My book has an ever changing cover with consistent dreams and consistent values. My book started in kindergarten when I wrote down on my “When I Grow Up” board that all I wanted was to be a cowgirl. Dream hasn’t changed, but life sure has. I am still that same little girl, wishing I was a Cowgirl and obsessed with my dog.
As the stages of my life change so does the cover of my book. So why don’t we judge by the cover. . . because you never know if the dog chewed up the pages behind it, if the mom spilt her coffee and three pages are stuck together, if the baby spit up in there and the toddler ripped out part of page 5. You don’t know what the words say until you hear the tone that someone reads them in. You don’t know if this is the Shawshank Redemption and there is actually a chisel in those pages until you get past the cover.
When I am at work my cover shows a put together, well organization, cheerful, I can handle anything attitude, and a you are my number one priority feeling. If I hadn’t mentioned it, would you know I have 2 kids and a dog, would you know I’m not married? Would you know that I actually have two jobs? Would you know that I have been up for 3-4 hours by the time I arrive here in the morning?
When I am at home my cover shows chaos, teamwork, and a mom who only sometimes gets it right. Do my kids know what mom does all day at work? Not a clue. Do my kids understand that I have to pay bills and sometimes that’s stressful? Absolutely not. Will my entire family understand why I am sitting on the couch crying if they don’t open the book? Not a chance. Those might be happy tears, frustration tears, or I might be sad. I may have heard a song that struck a chord, I may have remembered something my Grandma told me, I might be pregnant and a little loony (I’m not), but whose to know if they don’t flip to page one.
When I am coaching my cover shows fit, healthy, and motivational. But if my team only saw my cover how would they know how I got to be this way, and how would they know that I had pizza last night and now I feel like crap and I could use some motivation myself.
You get the point.
I used to be put off by what I thought I knew. I used to avoid the book because I feared what was behind the cover, and how many pages there were, and would I be stuck reading a book I didn’t like . . .
Here is the thing. Fortunately for us as humans, we are not books, we are not things, our story is not written, published, and then unchanged. People are ever changing, people become educated, people gain experience, and people grow up. Someone whose story conflicted with yours in the past, may be that same as yours today. People were meant to work together, work in teams, use each other for support. You don’t like someone’s story . . . maybe they don’t either. Maybe they are working hard to change it, advance to the next chapter, find a different ending. See if you can add value. It may change your story in the process.
Stay at home parent: Cover may look like a housewife, doesn’t have to work, gets to stay at home while her husband pays the bills.
Do you know why she’s at home? Is it because together they couldn’t afford daycare, is it because one parent travels and it just isn’t possible to work full time and take on all parental responsibly over 50% of the time, is it because they planned it that way when they had kids, is it because they are passionate about being the one to teach their kids.
Single dad (didn’t see that one coming did you): Cover may look like a #1 parent. Braids the girl’s hair and coaches both their t-ball teams.
Do you know where the mom is? Do you know how he manages to coach two teams and make enough to pay the bills? Is he born into money, supported by his own parents, does he work full time and the nanny actually raises the kids?
Kindergarten teacher: Cover may look like a happy crafty kid loving woman without a care in the world because she loves her job.
Do you know what she actually makes every year? Do you know if she trying to support a family and barely making ends meet? Is she anxious with her own children because of all the things she sees in the kids in her classroom?
Point being we won’t know each others struggles, but we can open our minds to the fact that we all have them, and that’s okay. It takes a village, not only to raise a child but to have a village.