I’ve started writing a book about Changing the Face of Christianity. I’ll post excerpts here as I go in order to get your feedback before the book is published.
We are also informed of stereotypes through our direct personal experience.
As an example, politicians have a pretty negative stereotype. However, I can’t honestly say I’ve ever met a politician face to face. I’ve never sat and had a conversation with one. I’ve never been in a friendly relationship with a politician in order to form another opinion through direct personal experience. And so, for politicians, I’m left with what I’ve seen on TV, in the media, and from what I’ve been taught by others. So, my stereotypical view of politicians remains strongly intact.
Teenagers are another group with a generally negative stereotype. Although I don’t have teenagers myself, I have met plenty of them. I’ve met with teens to talk about their faith. I’ve been involved in youth ministry. And I can’t forget about the fact that at one time in my life I WAS a teenager. And so, my stereotypical view of teenagers has been altered by my personal experience.
And I’ve also had the pleasure of having friendships with a number of teens which make me want to completely abandon my stereotypical view of them.
So, what influence has this experience had on my stereotypical view of teenagers? For one, it has improved my image of teens. My positive experience has led me to withhold judgment of a new teen I’ve met until I can get to know them better. I think the best of them until they prove me wrong, instead of thinking the worst until they prove me wrong. It’s a 100% more positive approach.
But not only has it shaped my perspective of teens I haven’t met, it has also increased my desire to get to know them at a real level. I now look forward to working more with teens to help them with their faith.
My point here is that personal experiences can significantly shape people’s views of a particular group, when those experiences are contrary to the prevailing stereotype.
Please share any comments or constructive feedback below. Thanks. It’s VERY APPRECIATED!
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