Many times in life, things are not always what they seem.
We know this truth, yet I don’t think we really know it sometimes.
Last week, my dear friend Maddie sent me an “article” on the snobbiest cities in Texas, and my hometown happened to top the list. Before even reading it, I got slightly defensive. Sure, I’m from a place that has grown a lot over the years and now has very nice houses and probably a great deal of wealth, but I honestly never considered it to be a place that was filled with snobbery. In fact, if you even spent a small margin of significant time there, you would see it’s quite the opposite.
Because Coppell knows the meaning of the word community.
It’s the type of place where the entire town is at the high school football games on Friday nights. It’s the type of place where almost everybody knows almost everybody. It’s the type of place where kids grow up together and form lifelong relationships. It’s the type of place where you can go to the grocery store and spend way more time there than you planned, because you ran into someone you know and ended up having a quality, deep conversation. It’s the type of place where your neighbors look out for you and take care of your pets when you go out of town. It’s the type of place where people are not above putting up their own Christmas lights. It’s the type of place where it’s perfectly acceptable for women to show up at places around town in sweats and no makeup. It’s the type of place where people will ban together when they lose someone in the community. It’s the type of place where selflessness and love are revealed daily. It’s the type of place that many people move back to after they’ve finished college and started families of their own. It’s the type of place that welcomes new people and makes them feel like they’ve been part of the community all along.
But it is not the type of place that is snobby.
Just because a city has nice homes and a lot of successful individuals doesn’t make it a place full of people who think they are better than others. I lived in the same city for my entire childhood, and my family was actually not one of the wealthier ones. We lived in a fairly small house (especially compared to the ones that continued to be built as we grew up), and money was often hard to come by for us. But, in all of my years, I cannot think of one instance where people in Coppell made me feel like less of a person for that. Not once. Instead, they simply loved and respected me and treated my family like they would treat anyone else.
Then I read the description of what makes this place snobby, and I was a bit confused. The first thing was the educational success–the percentage of individuals who go on to earn college degrees was an actual “snob” qualification. A couple of other identifications were the price of homes and the average household income.
Can we please stop first to define what snobby actually means? It’s when people act as if they are better than others. It’s the attitudes of people that make them seem snobby–it cannot be based solely on what they have and don’t have. You can be living in a box and be snobbier than someone living in a castle. If you saw this article and didn’t know a thing about the cities listed, you would have completely skewed perceptions of them without ever getting to know the truth.
Maddie also made a great point: you could read just a piece of this and misinterpret it, much like people often take Bible verses completely out of context. Not all church leaders are going to be men (yes, I went there); not all women who wear braids are going to be prostitutes (times change, people); and not all people with expensive houses are going to be snobs. You can’t just pull a verse from the Bible and apply it somewhere as you see fit if you’re not even examining it in the context in which it was written. You can’t just take a person and define that individual based on the circumstances in which he or she grew up.
Why do we continually judge people? Why must we still stereotype and lump people into groups by which we define them? Would it really be that awful if we just loved one another? It’s not a perfect world by any means, and we will never be perfect people (I’m as flawed as they come), but we can make things so much better if we just lived with our hearts and not with our minds more often.
Before you say things about people you don’t know, go spend time with them. Learn about them. Love them. You just may find that, in many ways, they really aren’t that different from you. Are there snobby people in this world? Yes. Do some of them even live in my hometown? Surely. But that certainly doesn’t make the entire place snobby. If I could tell every single person in this world one thing, it would be this: You are valued. You are loved. And you matter. It’s not about where you come from or how much you have. It’s about you being you.
And the heart is more revealing than any outside factor you’ll ever see.