[Noting how studying Sociology back in the day helped him learn to understand teenagers.]
I won’t claim for a moment that I’m a disinterested observer. I do claim to have stepped away from my biases, suspending my personal agendas in an effort to understand and respond to things as they are, not as they’re supposed to be. As Peter Berger framed it:
It can be said that the first wisdom of sociology is this—things are not what they seem.
People who like to avoid shocking discoveries, who prefer to believe that society is just what they were taught in Sunday School, who like the safety of the rules and the maxims of what Alfred Schuetz has called the “world taken for granted,” should stay away from sociology. People who feel no temptation before closed doors, who have no curiosity about human beings, who are content to admire scenery without wondering about the people who live in those homes on the other side of river, should probably also stay away from sociology. They will find it unpleasant or, at any rate, unrewarding. People who are interested in human beings only so they can change, convert or reform them should also be warned, for they will find sociology much less useful than they hoped. And people whose interest is mainly in their own conceptual constructions will do just as well to turn to the study of little white mice.
—Peter L. Berger, Invitation to Sociology, Anchor Books, 1963, pp 23, 24
I would add that people in that frame of mind should stay away from sermonizing, moralizing, and generalizing about the world as it appears from their lonely little island, desert, valley, or swamp.
from Raising Adults by Jim Hancock