Seeing Both Sides of the Coin

Photo Credit to Pixabay

I recently read a wonderful story today about a local sheriff’s deputy and his small act of kindness that I wanted to share with my readers. Eel River Deputy Kellen Brown stopped by the Table Bluff Reservation to enjoy a game of basketball with some kids. Though the article did not mention it, I assume this happened during his lunch hour or day off. While playing, he noticed that the nets were worn. Deputy Brown followed up by going to the store, purchasing some new ones, and returning to the reservation to put them up.

Deputy Brown removing the old net. (Photo from Facebook)
Newly installed net. (Photo from Facebook)

This story struck me for several reasons. Despite all the negativity in the world, thousands of examples of people doing positive things go unrecognized daily. The children who witnessed this officer’s act of generosity may be inspired to do the same. A simple act of kindness may change a child’s perspective regarding the police.

Photo Credit to Kindel Media on Pexels

It also made me wonder why many can’t see two sides of the same coin. I don’t come from a law enforcement family and have no agenda for sharing this story. I believe that most police officers do a difficult job well. They should be recognized and appreciated for their excellent work protecting our communities. They must make snap life-or-death decisions, and it’s easy to be a back seat driver and point out the times when the police made terrible decisions.

At the same time, we should want high standards for our police officers. We don’t want people in positions of authority abusing their powers. It’s wrong to expect anything less. Defending poor police officers is part of the problem. Failing to recognize that there have been many instances of abuse toward minorities is wrong. I often wonder why people get so defensive when this subject arises.

The bottom line is that we should never lump any profession or group of people into one category. I was a career teacher, and I feel the same about those in education. I think an extraordinary number of educators (administrators, teachers, and support staff) do a fantastic job teaching our youth. Schools receive children from all kinds of backgrounds. Some kids come to school with excellent family support, while others receive no guidance and are on their own. We expect our teachers to educate every student and meet all their diverse needs.

Photo Credit to Andrea Piacquadio on Pexels

Unfortunately, like in any profession, some educators fail to live up to our high expectations. It saddens me to learn of those who abuse their positions of authority. It is not only a stain on them but detracts from those in the profession who do their job well.

There are other professions we seem to attach with many negative labels—lawyers and politicians come to mind. While there are undoubtedly bad apples among those groups, it’s not fair to label people in those fields with blanket stereotypes such as “they’re all a bunch of crooks.” I don’t believe that sentiment; I’m sure some are doing extraordinary work.

Labeling people is lazy and irresponsible. I don’t watch that much television, but I observe how two networks can spin the same event through their political lens. Their biases shine through, both from the left and the right. I believe, in part, this has contributed to the intolerance and distrust some feel toward anyone different from them. I reject the notion that someone with a differing political ideology than me is automatically evil or wrong.

I’ll bring this back full circle by coming back to Deputy Brown. We respect people like him for their actions. It has nothing to do with his color, ethnicity, religion, or politics. If we insist on judging others as we humans like to do, the least we can do is draw our conclusions from things that matter.

“I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character. I have a dream today.” —Martin Luther King Jr.

Photo Credit to Pinterest

107 thoughts on “Seeing Both Sides of the Coin

    1. petespringerauthor July 29, 2022 — 4:37 pm

      Thank you, Carolyn. Enjoy your weekend!

      Like

      1. You are welcome and I hope you enjoy the weekend too! 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  1. Your points are well taken, Pete. I wish there were more like you, but unfortunately, generalization is a tool to garner support for beliefs. Right, and left use them continually.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I was thinking the same thing, John. Particularly in the last few years, people want to deny the complexity of the society we live in and its ills. They want to generalize and oversimplify solutions to complex problems.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. petespringerauthor July 29, 2022 — 7:18 pm

        Thank you, John.

        Like

      2. And thereby try to keep the divide going. Thanks, Liz.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. You’re welcome, John. I don’t see how the divide is benefiting anyone, including those who perpetuate it.

        Liked by 1 person

      4. Haters love to hate. 🙄

        Liked by 2 people

      5. True. Some people are just twisted.

        Liked by 1 person

      6. petespringerauthor July 30, 2022 — 12:28 pm

        Great point, Liz! We tend to want simple solutions to multi-layered problems.

        Liked by 1 person

      7. Yes, which invariably lead to negative unintended consequences.

        Liked by 1 person

    2. petespringerauthor July 29, 2022 — 4:40 pm

      It seems that people are more entrenched in their positions than ever. It gets tiresome that there can’t be more compromise.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. It does. We have watered down our principles over the years. Discourse is about gone.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. I agree with all you’ve said Pete, particularly on the point that seemingly small acts of kindness go unheralded every day. Most of these are done without any desire for recognition but as you say, they can have a ripple effect and many acts of everyday kindness have a significant, cumulative effect.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. petespringerauthor July 29, 2022 — 4:49 pm

      I still think most people I encounter daily are courteous and kind. I was standing in a lone line at the bank the other day and couldn’t help but notice that everyone who dealt with one particular teller walked away in a positive mood. Her friendliness and charm made a difference.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Funny how that works. As a teacher, it was easy to help others, in ways like this Sheriff, but now, working from home, I don’t think often enough about it. Maybe you feel the same way though I think you make a bigger effort than I do!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. petespringerauthor July 29, 2022 — 4:54 pm

      Good point about having fewer opportunities to help people working at home simply because you don’t have face-to-face encounters. I like the direction I see in some schools where the students are tasked with performing some community service projects.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I used to run an involved community service project at my school, where students taught elders how to use digital devices. That was almost more rewarding than teaching!

        Liked by 1 person

      2. petespringerauthor July 30, 2022 — 8:57 am

        I love this!!! I’ve seen many older people that struggle with technology. I can imagine how good it would be for the students’ self-esteem. I know programs like this must exist, but I can’t say I’m familiar with any. I remember the challenges of trying to teach my mom how to use a cellphone. She’d have it down, and it was like starting over by the next visit. Reminds of the saying “use it or lose it.”

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Very well said, Pete! Kindness begets kindness.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. petespringerauthor July 29, 2022 — 5:01 pm

      I absolutely believe we have the power to make someone’s day better through our actions. I gravitate toward positive people with good hearts.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. When I was doing my MBA one of the first sayings that was drummed into us was ‘behaviour breeds behaviour.’ Sadly, that is as true of good behaviour as it is of bad.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. petespringerauthor July 29, 2022 — 5:09 pm

      I think we witness that anytime we’re in a place where many people are in limited space, like an airplane, a freeway, or a busy supermarket. I’m a people watcher when we’re traveling, and I see many examples of both thoughtful and rude behaviors. More often than not, others are likely to follow suit.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Well said, Pete. It’s easy to generalize (I’ve been guilty many times). But, we are all individuals. The old saying, “Don’t let one bad apple spoil the entire bunch,” is really good advice. Too many people today, don’t see things that way.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. petespringerauthor July 29, 2022 — 5:21 pm

      Many of us have been guilty of making generalities that later we learned were inaccurate. One of the quotes I like about generalities is, “We continually judge the whole from the part we are familiar with.”—W.E.B. Du Bois

      Liked by 1 person

  7. A wonderful article that reminded me that I need to pay attention, to listen, and be kind. Thank you Pete, for sharing your thoughts and insights presented in a way that encourages us to choose compassion over being judgmental.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. petespringerauthor July 29, 2022 — 5:23 pm

      Compassion is such a wonderful quality. Most of the time, we just want someone to take the time to listen and care. Part of being a good leader is being a good listener. Thanks for your comments, Rebecca.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Always a joy to stop by for a visit!

        Liked by 1 person

  8. So true. I don’t understand how people can paint an entire group with the same brush. You are right about the news. Different stations appear to have different agendas and therefore spin a story to suit those agendas.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. petespringerauthor July 29, 2022 — 5:27 pm

      The power of prejudice and discrimination is if inaccurate things are said for a long time, people begin to accept them as fact. I don’t think we used to hear the term “fake news” even a decade ago.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. We humans do have an instinct to simplify complex situations by being judgmental. Unfortunately, it doesn’t work very well. Thanks for these reminders to think before judging.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. petespringerauthor July 29, 2022 — 5:31 pm

      Even science teaches us that studies and trials must happen many times before we can accept something as fact. There are often multiple variables that can change an outcome.

      Liked by 1 person

  10. thank you for sharing this story, his kindness has ripples he may not ever know. I agree with you, about not having pre-conceived ideas and feelings about a group of people, rather base it on the individuals within.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. petespringerauthor July 29, 2022 — 5:44 pm

      I wonder how often people get labeled simply by how they look. Some of that is necessary as a business could be affected if their employees dress inappropriately or unprofessionally. Yet, just because someone seems dignified doesn’t mean their closet is free of skeletons.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I’m sure it happens often and many that appear a certain way, may not be that way underneath, as you said –

        Liked by 1 person

  11. I totally agree with your viewpoint. There is good and bad in every profession. Lawyers and politicians are very unpopular except just about everyone likes their lawyer and the politicians they vote for. It is no wonder about politicians given that they happily take advantage of the power of negative ads.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. petespringerauthor July 29, 2022 — 7:27 pm

      Your comments about lawyers and politicians remind me of something one of my colleagues used to say along similar lines. “Most people love their child’s teacher, but they don’t like teachers’ unions.”

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Unions get a bad rap (somewhat deserved IMO) but people forget why there are unions in the first place.

        Liked by 1 person

  12. Very well put. Pete. I wish more folks thought like you do.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. petespringerauthor July 30, 2022 — 9:05 am

      “Don’t judge a book by its cover.” We have hundreds of these nuggets of wisdom that say the same thing, yet too often, we fail to live by them.

      Liked by 1 person

  13. When it comes to talking about society or a group of people, the words “all” and “none” are really not applicable. Stereotypes exist for a reason, but so does the exception to every rule. Great post to share, my friend!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. petespringerauthor July 30, 2022 — 9:07 am

      Treating everyone with respect doesn’t seem like that hard a standard to live by.

      Liked by 1 person

  14. A wonderful post Pete. There are many good people in every profession. I try extremely hard never to judge anyone by what others say about a person. We have a police officer who attends our church – he is a caring family man who is extremely dedicated to his job. We need more kindness and understanding in this world.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. petespringerauthor July 30, 2022 — 9:12 am

      I know teachers are sometimes guilty of judging students. In my first year (5th-6th grade), I had a student who many others talked about like she was the scourge of the west. She was definitely not an easy student, but she didn’t live up to her reputation. Remembering that each student should come to us with a clean slate was a good lesson.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I have seen people label children in school without getting to know the real story. My 18 years as a school secretary taught me to never judge a child by what others say, but through my own observations.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. petespringerauthor July 31, 2022 — 2:52 pm

        One of my principals used to refer to the secretary as the first line of defense. I had the pleasure of working with some excellent school secretaries.

        Liked by 1 person

  15. I couldn’t agree more! Once we open up our minds, we let in not only new information, but also kindness and compassion. Thanks again for spreading positive thoughts.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. petespringerauthor July 30, 2022 — 9:13 am

      It’s such a good model for kids (and the rest of us non-kids) to see people being selfless and giving back to their community.

      Liked by 1 person

  16. This is such a wonderful story, Pete. Like you, I believe the good in the world outweighs the bad and no one should be subject to abuse of any kind. I also do not believe we should ever lump anyone into a general category. Everyone is an individual. Great post. Thank you for sharing!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. petespringerauthor July 30, 2022 — 9:17 am

      A few bloggers I follow (John Howell comes to mind) post positive stories once a week about good news items in the community. With all the negativity around us, it’s nice to balance that with positive happenings.

      Liked by 1 person

  17. HI Pete, thanks for sharing this uplifting story. It is nice to read about good people doing kind things. It is true you can’t lump all people together, you get good and bad in all walks of life and the attitude and actions of most professionals do impact on other peoples lives.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. petespringerauthor July 30, 2022 — 12:24 pm

      One thing that bugs me about my son’s profession (coaching) is that if the head coach gets fired, most assistant coaches are out of a job too. It doesn’t seem fair, but it appears to be accepted in that industry. A new head coach is hired, bringing in his own assistants. When we got a new boss, things would change, but we never had to worry about losing our job because of a change in the administration.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Hi Pete, yes, that is true, although this same thing can happen in corporate takeovers which are pretty ruthless.

        Liked by 1 person

  18. I don’t know why so many people choose a single brush stoke when defining different professional fields like police or lawyers. I guess it’s human nature, but we should be able to do better. Every individual has a story, history, family that will always define them more accurately than their profession. And don’t get me started on the bias you reference. As an old small-town reporter, you had to be objective; just present the facts. That’s rare these days. Thanks Pete, for a thought-provoking post.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. petespringerauthor July 30, 2022 — 5:37 pm

      I think it’s important not to judge someone who may be having a bad day. We often are unaware of the struggles a stranger may be going through. It’s not like any of us have made perfect decisions in life.

      Liked by 1 person

  19. You, the sheriff, and the lady who gifted the ice cream to my granddaughters are in the same club, Pete! Well said. We must write more kindness posts. In Logic classes (I took it twice), we learned that A+B=C doesn’t mean A+D also = C. Many specifics don’t apply to generalizations, and we can apply the generalizations to specifics. Have a wonderful week.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Correction: “we can’t apply”

      Liked by 1 person

    2. petespringerauthor July 30, 2022 — 10:27 pm

      Even if I don’t know the people involved, I like to acknowledge good things when I see them. When others witness or are the recipients of kind acts, they’re much more likely to do something similar. I hope you enjoy your upcoming trip.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I think that kind of conversation makes us happier verse the coitizing and blaming! People may not understand it, but we are healthier people when we have a positive mind and attitude.
        I look forward to seeing the kids and our short anniversary trip. Thank you, Pete.

        Liked by 1 person

  20. You are so right. And fluent in common sense.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. petespringerauthor July 31, 2022 — 8:28 am

      Like you, I handle most things by trying to find humor in the situation.

      Liked by 1 person

  21. This is a wonderful story and opinion piece, Pete. I totally agree with you, and with Martin Luther King Jr.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. petespringerauthor July 31, 2022 — 8:30 am

      Character should be the most important quality. Thanks for reading, Norah.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. My pleasure, Pete.

        Liked by 1 person

  22. The Martin Luther King Jr quote is very poignant and is an exclamation mark after your thought-provoking analogy. Thanks, Pete, for addressing the issue.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. petespringerauthor July 31, 2022 — 9:48 am

      My pleasure, Nancy. I take inspiration wherever I can find it. This story got my attention because simple acts of kindness can start a chain reaction.

      Liked by 1 person

  23. Pete, you have just summed up Humanity-101. Simple acts of kindness have a domino effect to those who who are witnesses or recipients. Lumping groups of people into one opinion is narrow minded. I think the press perpetuates the negative stories, which are a small percentage of the positive stories- like Deputy Brown. I wish reporting would be like Walter Cronkite (just the facts) and people could form their opinions on facts alone. Every profession has, for the most part, people who do well. There are always a few who don’t, but pointing a finger at everyone because of the few is wrong. Thank you for a wonderful post. Hear, hear!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. petespringerauthor July 31, 2022 — 7:00 pm

      It seems there has to be a better way than the road we’re on now. Too many judgmental people who seem to be unable to tolerate anyone with a different opinion. Diversity is what makes us stronger. Thanks for sharing your perspective, Jennie.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I second your words!

        Liked by 1 person

  24. Very thoughtful and thought-provoking post, Pete. Thanks.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. petespringerauthor July 31, 2022 — 9:41 pm

      Thanks, Rosi. Glad to hear you’re feeling better.

      Liked by 1 person

  25. A really thought provoking post, Pete. This bit resonated: ‘It is not only a stain on them but detracts from those in the profession who do their job well.’ I think we all think that. Then it becomes personal; we want to protect ourselves from the taint. From there it’s a short step to ‘closing ranks’ in ‘solidarity’. And that is precisely why those outside the magic circle end up hating those within – because they won’t admit to /any/ wrong doing.
    In the case of the police, if they punished wrong doing within their ranks, the average citizen would say, ‘ah, just one bad apple’. Instead, they hide it, deny it, align themselves with the bad apples… 😦

    Liked by 1 person

    1. petespringerauthor August 1, 2022 — 3:55 pm

      Agree that the cover-up is often equally egregious. One of the first lessons we try and teach our children is to take responsibility for their actions. I believe in unions, but not to the point that they protect those who are inadequate.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Me too, Pete. I think that as individuals, we not only have rights, we also have responsibilities, and those who shirk those responsibilities should suffer the consequences.

        Liked by 1 person

  26. There is so much kindness and compassion in this article, Pete. We should never judge a whole group by one person. Toni x

    Liked by 1 person

    1. petespringerauthor August 1, 2022 — 4:34 pm

      I can think of many examples where good people get wrongfully categorized as something they’re not. We’re all better off when we’re not judgmental.

      Liked by 1 person

  27. You have a way of sharing messages that unite us ~ And that’s beautiful, Pete!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. petespringerauthor August 1, 2022 — 4:36 pm

      Thanks, Christy. I like to recognize ordinary people doing extraordinary things. It reinforces the notion that we don’t have to be celebrities to contribute something positive to society.

      Liked by 1 person

  28. Good post Pete. Indeed we are living in a society where one bad apple is used to collectively beat up all the rest of its ilk. Like you, I believe that there are bad apples in every bunch of business and professions, but they all need to be looked at for the whys and hows without passing judgment onto the whole lot of them all. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. petespringerauthor August 1, 2022 — 8:00 pm

      I tend to be this way with most businesses too. I will give them another shot if I get a bad meal or poor service in a restaurant. If the same thing happens again, I won’t go back.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. That is me too 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  29. Love this story, Pete! Deputy Brown saw a need that he could fulfill so he did it, without anyone asking this of him. This is what makes this a heartwarming story. I agree with you that every individual should be judged based on their actions, not the actions of their group. Period.

    No life should ever be undervalued or overlooked…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. petespringerauthor August 2, 2022 — 7:07 pm

      It’s pretty nervy when you think about it to assume we have the right to judge others.

      Life is good, Jen! 36 years for my wife and me today. Take nothing for granted, always have fun together, laugh a lot, and never go to bed angry.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Awww! Congrats Pete!!! yay!!! So inspiring!!! Hope you both had a terrific day!!!

        Liked by 1 person

  30. That part about a child seeing the police officer’s deed and one day possibly emulating it stuck with me. We aren’t islands, as much as a hermit I’d like to think I am. We’re like a bunch of sonar wave generators, and all our actions will ping off each other, which will in turn ping even further, and so on. So this officer’s deed may affect someone’s life 200 years down the line, and he won’t even know it. Interesting perspective, eh? Anyway, thanks for this post!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. petespringerauthor August 3, 2022 — 10:04 pm

      We are interconnected in global ways that many may not see or recognize at first glance. We may be continents apart, yet we can identify with similar feelings. I take inspiration wherever I can find it from any age, color, gender, ethnicity, etc.

      I look forward to your insights and humor each week, Stuart. Happy writing!

      Like

  31. wonderful post, Pete. The world needs more people like you and Deputy Brown! I just read that a few people are trying to start a third political party that hopes to be more middle of the road with its platform. I will be curious to see how it fares…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. petespringerauthor August 4, 2022 — 11:49 am

      While I think there are more people on the political extremes now, finding a more centrist person that can bring the country back together is the direction we should be heading. This whole, we don’t want to do anything to give the other side credit for something positive is getting us mired in the muck.

      I have a friend who was supposed to go on a little treasure hunting expedition in England (He’s into metal detecting) who had his trip postponed recently. I sure hope your teaching gig isn’t affected.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I agree with the need for a more centrist approach to things. And that’s too bad about your friend; was it because of travel restrictions into England?

        Liked by 1 person

      2. petespringerauthor August 4, 2022 — 5:39 pm

        Yep, related to Covid, he said.

        Like

  32. Great good-news story and a message that we all need to be reminded of regularly. Thanks, Pete!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. petespringerauthor August 6, 2022 — 12:56 pm

      Everyone takes inspiration from good news. It seems like a no-brainer not to highlight these kinds of stories. Have a great August, Bette!

      Liked by 1 person

    1. petespringerauthor August 8, 2022 — 3:33 pm

      Thanks, Moksha. I’m pleased to have met you and some of your blogging friends.

      Like

  33. I also hate it when people lump all people of a certain profession or ethnicity together. It makes no sense to me whatsoever but then again, humanity can be bitter.

    Liked by 1 person

  34. Thanks for showing us the good sides of humanity though!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. petespringerauthor August 8, 2022 — 3:37 pm

      It’s easy to get jaded, but I’m an eternal optimist. There are so many beautiful people in the world doing amazing things. It’s important that we never lose sight of that. I know a few people who always seem like they’re complaining about something; I’ll continue to surround myself with those with a positive persona.

      Liked by 1 person

  35. Good for Deputy Brown for making a positive contribution to society and further earning people’s trust.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. petespringerauthor August 18, 2022 — 8:19 am

      Your recent post further explains how the perception of the police has changed in recent years. It’s sad, but understandable, when the bad apples get the spotlight.

      Liked by 1 person

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