Deceptive labels

March 28, 2008 | No comments yet

A reader sent in the below. It’s full of useful ideas on removing labels and not stereotyping ourselves or others.

I heard the neatest thing today out of a workshop on dealing with troubled kids.
In preparing his presentation for the children the speaker took a can of dog food and a can of fruit and exchanged the labels.

During the workshop, he showed the cans to the kids and had them pick one. They all picked the can of fruit. He opened it and they discovered dog food.

He used the surprise to point out that you can’t judge people by the labels society puts on them. You have to look inside to find out what’s really in there and who they are.

He has another illustration where the kids have someone who really loves them write something about them on a label and then he puts the label on a can. Then he has them write what they think about themselves on several other labels, including what they think others think about them. He puts these self-written labels one by one over the top of the first label. Then they talk together about what was written, and strip the labels away one at a time until they get down to the label written by the person who loves them.

Sounds like material for some good Sunday school lessons!


I can picture the faces of disgust on the children when they opened a can of presumed fruit, and found dog food!


But I reversed the experience in my mind and thought about times when we thought we were being served a can of dog food, but opened the lid—got to know someone better—and found a can of fruit!

This is the case with everyone on the globe. Many people are avoided because of how they look and act and where they come from, but inside that package covered with unattractive labels is a wholesome can of fruit!

There is a “can of fruit” in all of us no matter what the outward appearance.

May we all look for the fruit and not fear finding dog food!


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