Dolly Parton is truly my favorite singer and entertainer as I've said many times before. She inspired me to change my outlook on life to an optimistic one, and that's made me a happy person. I always like sharing articles about her in hopes that it will get others to change their view on things, too. This one just came out in Women's Day magazine. -Rob
Dolly Parton on Seeing the Good in People
Photo courtesy of Steven Bridges for Dolly RecordsWhen I was a girl growing up in the 1950s in the Smoky Mountains, there were plenty of people who didn't know what to make of me. I had 11 brothers and sisters and no electricity in my home, yet I knew I was gonna be a star. I had a big, outgoing personality and even then I dressed a little bit trashy—my grandfather, who was a Pentecostal preacher, told me I looked like Jezebel! Some people thought I was a freak, and I was sensitive. But I was always myself—they couldn't beat it out of me, they couldn't scare it out of me, they couldn't scold it out of me. I just couldn't help it! I didn't know how else to be. Still don't.
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I think that's why I try to be accepting of other people just the way they are. I like being myself and I feel everyone should have that right. My mother was a lot like that. She always said, when someone judges you, you ask, "Hey, did you forget that passage that said, 'Judge not, lest ye be judged'?" I just think judging is God's business. He made us all and we're supposed to be who we are. I think that's why all different kinds of people feel comfortable with me, because they know I really believe that.
It's not always easy, of course. They say your first impression of someone is always right, but I've found that that's not true. You just don't know. It can be as simple as how a person dresses. You make a judgment about that person, but if you spend a little time, you find that they're different from what you thought, and you forget how they look. I know I look totally artificial, but I'd like to think I'm real where it really counts. It's how people treat one another and what they do and the way they do it—that's what should matter. And that takes some time to figure out—you don't know right away.
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We don't always take the time, though. I've found a way of getting a read on a person. When I meet someone, I look at their eyes and their smile and seek out the good first—it's easy to find when you're looking for it. You let a person shine with their own light and try to connect it to yours. As soon as I say hello, I go right to that light and I don't care who you are! I know we're all pieces of the same thing—I go for that common light because I know it's in all of us.
What Matters to Dolly
A lot of the things I see in this world aren't right, and I set about trying to make as many things right as I can. My daddy was very smart and funny, but he couldn't read or write, so I started Imagination Library. We send children a free book each month from birth until kindergarten. Of all my accomplishments, my daddy was most proud of me for being the "Book Lady," which is what the kids call me.
To donate, go to ImaginationLibrary.com.
SOURCE: WOMEN'S DAY: