(I changed the names here because my friend hates all sorts of social media with a passion.)
At a dinner party Saturday night, the hostess was asked where her younger daughter will be going to high school next year. With all the growth in that county, it turns out she’ll attend a different school than her older sister did.
Guests sympathized. “Oh, you won’t know the teachers. You won’t know which ones are the best.”
The hostess replied, “Jessie is not Jennifer. She might need something totally different.”
I make it a mission to remember wisdom when I hear it, and not even the best chocolate cake in the world (I had two slices) could derail me.
I realized that, no matter how much we say that we don’t categorize people or that we treat everyone as an individual, that’s not always true. In fact, with the information coming at us all the time, it’s not always possible. We group ideas to make processing all the data a little easier:
“If Mr. Kennedy is a good math teacher for Jennifer, he will be a good math teacher for Jessie.”
If Phyllis could do all of this without getting stressed, Carter should be able to as well.”
“If my first wife enjoyed camping, then all my wives should enjoy camping.”
“If I can come to work when I have a migraine, you should be able to!”
You get the picture. Sometimes it’s automatic and we make the judgment without thinking. Sure, as humans, we have a great deal in common. But let’s slow down and remember that Jessie is not Jennifer. Or you. Or me.