Perspectives and Purple Trees | Teen Ink

Perspectives and Purple Trees

May 18, 2022
By jonathanhernan3z GOLD, Southborough, Massachusetts
jonathanhernan3z GOLD, Southborough, Massachusetts
15 articles 10 photos 1 comment

Favorite Quote:
Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever.

Today in the twenty-first century world, we are able to share ideas and perspectives about the world in ways that once seemed impossible, noting more than a silly folly. However, we are more connected than ever before, and yet never more divided. We as individuals often find ourselves being able to connect with those who share similar interests and opinions through technological innovations such as social media. Through social media algorithms, individuals often find themselves immersed in their own personal bubbles where they are surrounded by content that apples to their own opinions and interests. However, when we as individuals face an opinion that is differing or outwardly opposing our own, we tend to become very defensive or our ideas and as a result, often fail to truly listen to others and listen to differing perspectives. This in turn leaves us being stubborn and hinders us as we learn more about ourselves and others and grow. I believe that we should take the time to understand the perspectives and opinions of others.

In understanding the perspectives of others, we are able to lear about ourselves. We are able to learn about what we have in common with each other and gain empathy for others instead of focusing on our difference and divide us. Additionally, trying to understand the perspectives of others is also respectful. This is because it allows us as humans to demonstrate respect and that we genuinely care about others by taking the time to put ourselves in their shoes and validating their perspectives and opinions by trying to learn more about them. 

When my abuelita came to the US from Mexico, she saw an opportunity. She saw the chance to gain a powerful tool that would help her navigate the world and think more critically about it. She saw her opportunity to gain an education. She wanted to learn and get a degree and be able to provide better opportunities for her children and grandchildren and their children. At her local community college, she studied and worked had in all her classes to earn her associate degree and get a better job to support herself and her family. In her arts class, the class was tasked with painting trees, any tree they wanted. Some painted spruce trees, oak, pine, even some weeping willows. However, my abuela chose to paint a purple jacaranda tree. For reference, the jacaranda tree is a plant native to South and central America. My abuela had always heard of the beautiful jacarandas blooming each spring in Mexico city each spring, gracing the entire region with its beautiful flowers. However, she was never able to see them from her home in the city of Mexicali.  For her class project, she painted the jacaranda trees, without ever having seen them in bloom. She painted a beautifully vivid image of the luscious purple trees which she was overjoyed to show to her teacher. However, after she turned in the painting and got back her grade, she discovered that she received a Failing grade on the assignment. She asked why she got a failing grade? And the teacher responded saying that the assignment was to paint a real tree, not a imaginary tree. They said that purple trees don't exist and that my abuela was “stupid” for thinking such silly things. 

In this instance, the teacher, like most of us today, failed to take the time and failed to put in the effort to try to understand the perspective of someone else. They failed to consider the notion that there may be trees that aren't merely green and look like only one set way. Rather, they like many of us become rooted and stuck in a singular perspective. 

Rather, we need to take the time and effort to understand others, their perspectives, and their opinions, especially those that differ from out own. This is not only respectful to others because taking the time to understand others but also reiterating the validity of their opinions, thoughts, and perspectives. This empathy is necessary for all of us to grow as a society and grow as individuals.

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