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A Teen's View

Everyone has his or her own set of standards

April Hildebrand

Everyone has his or her own set of standards, values, and ethics. In most situations, people expect the human beings and objects around them to meet their own standards and all of their ethical qualifiers. It becomes our lifestyle. We live our day to day lives by judging people, picking out who we want to talk to based on his or her appearance and what object we would rather use because it looks better. For example, one person may feel that a simple off brand t-shirt from Walmart is perfectly acceptable attire, while another may think the bare minimum would be a dress shirt from Cache.

Many people stereotype based on what he or she generally expects from a person or object. Stereotypically speaking, a person walking down the street in a dress suit wouldn't stop to talk to a homeless person begging for money. From personal experience, I know that I typically will not lower my standards in any situation even if it may benefit me. Some people are so set on their ethical values and ideas that they miss out on all of the opportunity presented to them on a daily basis. There are certain times when it may be beneficial to lower one's expectations, and learn to enjoy the world and its inhabitants, living or non-living.

Recently I have been looking for another horse to buy, and I had a perfect idea of what I wanted… and that idea contained many specific details. Between 2-6 yrs old, over 15 hands, must be a Thoroughbred, must have good feet, must do this, this, this, and that…. Well maybe if I had a lifetime I would find the perfect match. I even drove an hour to look at a horse who I thought was the perfect match to find it was far from it… When I pulled into the driveway of the farm she reared straight up on her hind legs and I immediately turned right around and left. It certainly was far from perfect! So I decided to broaden my search range and I might end up finding not exactly what I was looking for, but somewhat close.

About a year ago, I bought my first puppy. I knew EXACTLY what I wanted… or so I thought. I wanted a black and white Dalmatian that was house trained, wouldn't run away, and wouldn't bark at my horse. I found a breeder in Ohio and I sent her a down payment on Checkers, an eight week old black and white male who had already been around horses and was "learning" house training. She told me he was a dog who always stuck by your side, didn't run away. After I made the down payment she told me his mother was deaf in one ear. "WHY DIDN"T YOU TELL ME BEFORE?" I wanted a PERFECT puppy.

It turns out Checkers has bilateral hearing, but today I realize what difference would it have made if he was deaf in one ear or not? I wouldn't trade him for the world, yet it took me eight months to fully house train him, he runs away in spite of me, and he barks at my horse when she misbehaves. So all of my expectations from the beginning were useless, but Checkers and I eventually understood each other and I learned a valuable lesson from him since he showed me life through a dog's eyes.

The more lessons I learn from beings other than humans, the more I strive to see life from multiple different angles. Just the other day I was about to write up a list and I looked into our pen basket to see my selection of pens. There was a shiny silver gel pen, a black ball-point pen, and a plain Papermate pen. Of course, I chose the shiny silver gel pen because it was most attractive to the eye. I wrote the first few words and then suddenly the ink blurred all over my paper. Not wanting another mess I set it aside and picked up the ballpoint. I wrote a few words, and what do you know the ink runs out! I scribbled and scribbled but it just wouldn't give one last blurb of ink so I just had to resort to the plain old Papermate. It was so boring looking, but I was able to complete my list with the plain pen.

If humans could learn a life lesson from pens, what a difference it would make in our lives. Don't always go for the pretty one; they're not always the nicest. Just as we shouldn't judge books by their cover, don't judge one by his shell, he might give up on you when you least expect him to. And finally, sometimes the underdog turns out to be the top dog shining even thought everyone underestimated him!

Each and every day I learn a new lesson. Recently the same lesson has been presented over and over. Don't hold such high expectations, make exceptions; it makes you a better-rounded and more understanding person.

Read other articles by April Hildebrand