The value of a person.
The value of the differences of people.
As a parent there are many lessons to provide your child. So many that it's most likely one can miss a lesson or 20. As my son is venturing into puberty stage and developing friends with those who are likely to make great impact on his life, I pay close attention to their conversations when I'm privy to ease dropping. Yes, I'm that parent who pokes her nose in the business. I mean he is 9 years old, there is only so much privacy he is allowed when I'm in his presence. Through his conversations and interactions with friends I remind him and his friends that while they are friends because they have something in common, they are different in more ways than race. I teach them while they are different, they must respect each other's differences. They must value the difference because as friends that's just how a good friendship is developed. According to who? I'm not sure, but according to me - this ordinary person - I find that people work better together if they accept the worth, value, and importance of the differences of those around them.
I've associated with people from different countries, cultural backgrounds, socioeconomic backgrounds, races, religions and the list goes on. What I realize is that is if we find an ounce of value in the difference of people versus picking them apart - versus teasing them and saying why their differences are inferior, we can all smile a little bit more. Who really smiles when someone is picking them to pieces about their interest?
My son, his classmates and friends find ways to pick at each other based on who likes different games, sports, or school subject matters. If you sit and listen to children of all ages, you hear their juvenile reasons to pick apart one another. Sometimes it falls into that bully category and sometimes it's just that harmless taunting that children, especially boys do. One person always wants to be better than the other person. Where does it get them in their conversation? No place, but an angry place. Who wants to be in an angry or irritated place? It can be funny to taunt someone who is scared of the dark, but it won't be funny if that person lands a punch in the face for bringing out their difference. What I teach my son and his friends is that while they are different, there is no reason to tease one another based on their differences. Lift one another up. As the saying goes, "you can pick your friends, but you can't pick your family." Therefore if you choose someone to be in your circle of friends, lift them up differences and all. Life throws us enough that keeps us down or tears us up, that there is no need to have a chosen friend assist in more degrading.
As children have such juvenile conversations, I have realized that adults do just the same thing. Yes, we do. I dissect conversations I have with adults. We pick apart people based on weight, race, finances, hair, geographical location, education, or religion. We tear one another to shreds. I can admit that I will shred a man to pieces in a heartbeat. I've realized a pattern in myself and friends that in dating we will pick out all of the differences of a man. I mean every single difference, from character flaws to watching sports. Why can't we seem to follow the teachings that I share with my son? Why don't we accept the differences and simply embrace them? I don't know why we do that, but I'm going to work on refraining from such behavior. The attitude that I teach and the attitude that I portray have been less than equal. The quest to remain positive lives on - I will work on not tearing down others. It's been said that we find the things in others that we don't like about ourselves. While that can be true in some aspects, it doesn't apply to this situation because I'm more so speaking of those differences in interests. I challenge those who read to embrace the differences of others. Find the similarities and things you love about others and lift them up. The differences in people are what make them valuable. What worth would a person have in your life if they are only bringing to the table the exact same things you already have in stock.