What I learned about Politics at the Beauty Shop

Small, Average, & Great Minds

What I Learned about Politics at the Beauty Shop

Trying to obey, I kept one foot on the floor and the other on the front bar of the chair. Spinning in the chair—definitely forbidden. Slight movement, almost indistinguishable to my Mom, kept me in good graces.

Rarely, did we get our hair cut or attend when Mom got her hair done. So sitting in the empty pump-me-up chair next to my Mom’s hairstylist, Marilyn, was about a 9.5 on this 8 year old’s excitement scale. And this day, I was the recipient of a new hair-do.

Positioned behind the back wall, Marilyn guided me to the shampoo station. Draping me in a cape, she snapped the neck closed. Propped up on a booster seat, I leaned back into the bowl. That’s when I saw it, the sign about small, average, and great minds.

There’s quite a bit of controversy concerning the originator of the old saying, but for me it came from the beauty shop.

“Great minds discuss ideas, average minds discuss events, small minds discuss people.”

Fascinated by the sign, I was even more amazed that it hung in the beauty shop—where there was no lack of gossip. A useful reminder, but rarely followed.

The pattern still current today. We talk a good game. We have kindness campaigns, anti-bully education, and child abuse awareness. But, our actions communicate a different set of beliefs than what we espouse or champion.

As we are in the thick of election season, we see hostile memes denigrating not a political party or a specific policy, but a person. We’ve fallen into the nastiness of destroying a person’s character because we don’t agree politically. Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram overflow with half-true statements. Copy and paste appears to be our current political discussion.

We are desperately missing the goal. The goal should be to learn for ourselves and then discuss political ideas, not discuss or destroy people. We forego our responsibility as an active government participant, learning first hand about foreign, domestic and economic policy, to become a passive believer of Internet propaganda. We withdraw from becoming a Great Mind to accept the role of a Small Mind.

The challenge is to learn about the issues, not to read only one source. Learn both sides of the story so we can intelligently debate the topic. We must become an active member of our government.

I’m guilty of not learning. Our lives are busy and we give our responsibility of education to the nightly news. We sit on the side lines criticizing those who are brave enough to enter the arena, instead of actively participating in the political process.

Make the decision to become a Great Mind. Know the facts. Discuss the ideas. Battle the concept, not the person. Leave small minds behind.

“It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it.”