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Painting the right picture

Chief Master Sgt. Anthony Brinkley, 19th Airlift Wing command chief

Chief Master Sgt. Anthony Brinkley, 19th Airlift Wing command chief

LITTLE ROCK AIR FORCE BASE, Ark. -- How many times have you made a value assessment about a person when you first met them? Often I've found the way I initially saw someone was not even close to the person they truly were, based on further interaction with them. This week I want to focus on how many of us paint pictures everyday and don't even realize it.

I'm not talking about painting by numbers or any other form of art: I'm referring to how we categorize people we come into contact with. You see, each day we paint pictures of those around us, and those pictures form the way we interact with those around us. In this age of information at our fingertips, there's the tendency to want answers to all our questions right away. However, I submit to you that if we do that with the people around us, we may miss the real person that dwells within them.

I remember a co-worker that rarely came to unit events after duty hours. The majority of the organization labeled this person as antisocial and aloof. Yet, upon further review, this was a person who had a special-needs family member at home. When their Air Force responsibilities ended, they had to go home and continue caring for their family. So many people didn't take the time to gather as much pertinent data before painting their picture of their co-worker, and missed opportunities to be a good teammate.

Many isms we have such as racism and sexism have developed because people decided they had all the information they needed to paint their pictures of those around them. This week, I want you to fight the impulse to quickly paint pictures, which form the way you see those around you. Some of the world's greatest artists took years to develop their masterpieces. I believe if we use patience and attentiveness to those around us that our relationships can be masterpieces because the pictures will accurately reflect what lies within.

Combat Airlift!