Difficult Decisions, Snap Judgments
It is late May and she has a nest of just-hatched chicks in a nest sitting a half-mile to the west. She has flown across the fields in the hope that she will find the freshly re-hydrated meal worms that I have set out on my front porch each day. It’s an easy meal for a harried young mother to take to her children. For her, my front porch has become a fast food drive-thru of sorts.
Perhaps you can almost sense her desperation as she perches spraddle-legged on the edge of the crystal ashtray that holds the precious ready-to-eat meal. Can she fit just one more worm in her mouth? Or must she make another trip, fly yet another mile back and then forth, to feed her young family?
Why would she leave her family for so long without protection, just so she can pick up an easy meal? Is the father there to watch the nest? Is there no food near the nest that she could find and still stay close to her children and conserve her energies by not taking that long flight from the nest to the food?
From my point of view, as I look at this image I judge her. I judge her for leaving her children alone, for laziness, for taking the easy way out.
But I’m very likely wrong.
What if meal worms are the most highly nutritious food she could hope to provide for her children? What if her mate is back at the nest, guarding their children from all intruders — I have seen Red-winged Blackbirds successfully chase Bald Eagles away from nests, I know them to be powerful defenders! What if the five-minute flight from nest to my front porch is the only five minutes she gets to herself each day and it is a gift she gives to herself so that she can refuel and refresh and turn and fly back to her children and care for them with a renewed spirit?
What if? And what does it matter what I think? How does my judgment — true or otherwise — change anything?
Why is it that we tend to make judgments as we take in information? Before the facts are fully fleshed out and sitting before us, we have already skewed the pathways of our thoughts and feelings about the situation with our judgments. And why do we feel that constant need to judge others?
It is said that we tend to focus on those faults in others that we most despise in ourselves — whether we recognize that fault as one our own or not. Perhaps we feel the need to make snap judgments of others and their actions before we have full understanding because that is exactly what we do to ourselves. Before we have full understanding of our own selves, before we have taken the time to look deeply and understand, we have judged ourselves as unworthy, as wrong, as lazy, as inadequate. Before all the facts are in, we are judged.
What if we stopped doing that to ourselves? I wonder …