It seems a challenge to go through life and not judge others based on life's previous experiences. Ironically, my recent experience with a neighbors' rush to judgement had me falling into the same trap of judging others. It's quite obvious from the tone of the neighbors letter that judgement had been made before seeing how things worked out. The letter was amusing but also had me judging all people who fit my neighbors' profile. I felt that anyone who resembled my neighbor (older and a member of a certain "club" in utah) must have the same hate for my chickens. An experience yesterday humbled and enlightened me.
It was Sunday morning and I was out mowing the lawn with my helper Sean nearby. As I turned to mow another strip, I saw an older woman begin walking toward me. Seeing that she wanted to begin a conversation, I shut my mower down and walked to greet her. The lady (a "club" member) is a neighbor from down the street and was quite interested in our dog, Duke. Not long after chatting, Sarah and Gracie came out of the house to introduce themselves. The conversation soon turned to the woman's work at animal control and the animal shelter. Sarah mentioned a recent trip to the animal control headquarters to obtain a permit. This prompted the woman to ask if we went to obtain a permit for Duke. Sarah and I both looked timidly at each other before giving her the honest answer.
The trip to animal control was made to obtain a permit for our backyard chickens. To our surprise, the woman was extremely excited and asked if she could see our chickens. Sarah and I about fell over after being stunned by her reaction and realized that we had already passed judgement on the friendly woman. Of course we would show off our chickens and coop to anyone who is supportive of the idea. We had a great conversation about chicken coops and other neighbors in the area who kept chickens. In addition, the woman told us about her hobby of bee keeping and plans to begin a hive in her backyard. It's great to be reminded that just because people can be thought of as members of the same "group", they don't always have identical beliefs.