Jan. 22, 2010: Bo Diddley offers a lesson in acceptance, by Olivia Leif

January 22, 2010 by

Everyone has heard the saying, “You can’t judge a book by its cover!” But really, how many of us truly live by it?

Probably very few of us can honestly say we do because before ever saying two words to someone we’ve just met, most people already have conjured up a preconceived notion of what we think the person is like. Our impressions are based on what the new person is wearing, their hair style, the car they drive or the way that they carry themselves. Often times, this initial look-over gives us a false sense of what the new individual is like, which can impede any chance of becoming acquainted.

When you’re tempted to “judge a book by its cover,” you need to take a deeper and closer look at what — or who — you are trying to judge; you need to look beneath the surface of someone. The “cover” of some professor, for example, may seem slow and awkward, but the “book” could be home to one of the brightest minds around.

The late Bo Diddley, in a 1962 hit song, plainly explained what the saying really means:

You can’t judge an apple by lookin’ at the tree
You can’t judge honey by lookin’ at the bee
You can’t judge a daughter by lookin’ at the mother
You can’t judge a book by lookin’ at the cover

Oh, can’t you see — whoa, you’ve misjudged me
I look like a farmer but I’m a lover
You can’t judge a book by lookin’ at the cover

If instead of automatically thinking you know everything about a person, try to get to know the him or her. By keeping an open mind and not judging, you have the possibility of becoming great friends.

The next time you see a new person walk through your door, follow Bo Diddley’s lyrics. Tear down the judgmental wall down to learn what’s inside the book.

— Olivia Leif is the daughter of Todd and Diane Leif. She is an eighth-grader at Concordia Junior High School.

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