Is it good to be naïve? The word is often used in a negative way, but when I look at the actual dictionary definition, I can see how it might be seen as a positive attribute:
1. having or showing unaffected simplicity of nature or absence of artificiality; unsophisticated; ingenious.
2. Having or showing a lack of experience, judgment, or information; credulous.
3. Having or marked by a simple, unaffectedly direct style reflecting little or no formal training or technique.
When I was eighteen, I met a black girl. She had her hair in tightly braided columns. “Wow, I love your n-knots,” I blurted (only I actually said the n-word to her). She looked at me for a long moment and then said, “That’s not a word you’re supposed to say. The hairstyle is called corn rows.”
I really shouldn’t have been quite so naïve. I did grow up hearing and saying the n-word. We ate delicious nuts, which we called n-toes (i.e., Brazil nuts). We had a selection song that included the n-word, “eenie-meenie-minie-mo catch a n—by his toe...,” which has evolved to be “catch a tiger by its toe.” We went “n-knocking” to prank our friends, but my children call that “ding-dong-ditching.”
When I was in elementary school there was a family that lived nearby of uncertain racial origin. Their daughter had not been terrible friendly to me. One day she pushed into my seat on the bus and I said, under my breath (or so I thought), “Go away n---.” Well, she heard it. And they called and told my mom what I’d said. And I got spanked. (If you’re the person I’m writing about and you’re reading this, please know that I’m very sorry and embarrassed for having said those words to you.)
So, by age eighteen I should’ve realized it wasn’t okay to say the word to outsiders, particularly black outsiders. I'm thankful that the beautiful young lady I met was patient enough to explain that to me rather than give me the earful (or fistful) I deserved.
Brethren, be not children in understanding: howbeit in malice be ye children, but in understanding be men.
1 Corinthians 14:20 (KJV)
Brothers and sisters, stop thinking like children. In regards to evil be infants, but in your thinking be adults.
1 Cointhians 14:20 (NIV)
Do you have a similar story of naiveté? Is there anything positive about being naïve?