Written February 16, 2017
“We could learn a lot from crayons; some are sharp, some are pretty, some are dull, while others bright, some have weird names, but they all have learned to live together in the same box.” ~Robert Fulghum
Funny how to get a point like this across we look at things from a child’s viewpoint. Another way we can look at this is to watch how young children live and play. Imagine a bunch of parents putting their children in a sandbox with other children of different skin colors and faiths and all they tell their child is to have fun and play nicely. What happens next is anyone’s guess but whatever happens you can pretty much guess they’ll all be playing together fairly well. Parents who encourage their children to play with other children in this way can set the tone for how they will grow up to be adults in a very diverse world. A world that seemingly grows more divisive by the day.
Somewhere at some point while we were growing up, we begin to learn about hate. We begin to become more picky about what we eat. Then it progresses more in our school years when we start deciding who we associate and play with. Usually it starts when we’ve been teased by our peers when we associate with someone our peers think have less than desirable characteristics(enter the days of the jocks, nerds, preps, etc). Sometimes we learn to discriminate because of something we hear our parents say. Then there are some people that grew up learning nothing but hatred and discrimination.
I’m sure you all know that hatred is an intense emotion of dislike. But do you know why people hate? Usually people hate others because of fear and what it manifests in them. They are insecure of something the other person has that they want or that they feel they deserve, therefore that jealousy, or insecurity comes out in the form of anger/hate. Also some people can evoke certain emotions in them like fear. They don’t hate people, they hate the emotions and fears that arise within them and project these fears/emotions onto others. To avoid the pain of dealing with their own emotions, they hate them. Also people hate because of mutually conflicting values.
Discrimination is the unjust or prejudicial treatment of different categories of people or things, especially on the grounds of race, age, or sex. It encompasses words like prejudice, bias, bigotry, intolerance, narrow-mindedness, unfairness, inequity, favoritism, one-sidedness, and partisanship. The one word that sticks out to me is intolerance. This is an unwillingness to accept views, beliefs, or behavior that differ from one’s own.
You probably know that hate, discrimination and intolerance are at record levels not just in America but all over the world. If we are to have any semblance of peace in this world we desperately need to learn to be more tolerant and accepting of people, especially for those who are different from us. Not one of us is a perfect person. That job is left for someone else. Underneath our skins and beyond the name we give our Higher Power we are the same. Each of us has the same organs that keep us alive. Each of us has feelings, goals, hopes and dreams.
Yes, we can learn a lot from crayons. Although they are all different colors, each one is made of wax and each one is covered with a paper label. They all get along well in the box. No matter how you arrange them, they still make a rainbow. Just imagine what it would look like if red kicked blue out of the box or orange picked on green because of it’s color. It would make for quite a muddy mess. If we’re just a little more patient, tolerant and accepting we may not achieve world peace but we’ll have more peace in our own little world.
Thought for the day: What are some ways that you can practice patience, acceptance or tolerance?