Can you judge a book by its cover? I try to reserve judgement but its there one way or another, either in the very back or in the very front of my mind. Time and time again, I have been wrong after making a quick decision about a person because of their clothes or the way they speak. Recently, I met someone with a feather sticking out of her hair and instantly thought she was crazy, only to find she was a very competent employee and natural leader.
It is human nature, I think, to make up stories about who is safe or unsafe in an effort to understand our world and to quickly categorize those with whom we come into contact. Of course, humans are not so simple and seem to defy categorization because we live a long time and have layers upon layers of experiences that create and transform our character.
I write all this to explain that we are in the process of finding a new babysitter. Our current gal gave the standard three day notice due to some silly health condition (extreme pregnancy) which we knew would happen sooner or later.
I posted an ad on our neighborhood page and within a few hours had exactly one interested party, a 16-year-old who lives down the road who loves kids. We set a date for her to come over for a meet and greet. She arrived in a baby doll dress with big eyes and blond hair. The boys had hearts in their eyes as they ran to her and offered her lollipops and popsicles to stay and play.
And I found myself making a hasty assessment of her thinking, she is young, well put-together and has so much potential, she would not jeopardize her future by doing something foolish or negligent with my sons. I want to see the best in her and as a long-time social worker, I know that potential is limitless in all directions, for better or worse.
As we finished our popsicles, I said, “The job is yours if you want it,” with a hope for the best.