A series of thoughts ensured I’d have something to write about today. I thought of posting a review of products on EZ Vacuum, relating opinions on the historical events of the day (including the famous run from the law made by O.J. Simpson fifteen years ago today) and even researching new methods of water treatment that rely solely on the power of plants for purification. All of those would have made excellent topics of conversation for a blog entry.
However, none of those will be mentioned today.
As I sat thinking and planning out what to write, I gazed out my sliding glass door. Beyond the plates of glass separating me from the world, I watched the children play. At first, when there were only two children, everything went as one would expect. Laughter bubbled and toys were shared.
It wasn’t long before a third child joined in. With the addition of this new playmate, I noticed a shift in the play. Spurts of giggling still occurred and most of the toys were shared, but the easiness of the earlier play disappeared as the children vied for the position of most liked among their group.
When a fourth and fifth child joined in, the situation escalated. It seemed the group had determined a loser in the popularity contest: a little blue eyed girl in a bright pair of pink shorts and white top. Laughter now only visited the group at the girl’s expense. No longer were toys shared equally, but instead were used to taunt the little girl.
Tears mingled with the giggles as they tore the little girl to shreds in the name of fun. She was only about four years old, a little younger than the others, but she was different enough. Her tears seemed to encourage the other children to continue their behavior.
At last, a parent showed up to put an end to the teasing and torment. Unfortunately, it was not the children whose parents should have been correcting them, but rather the mother of the little girl, frazzled and upset at the treatment her child had received. She didn’t say anything to the children in question. She just picked up her baby and retreated to the sanctuary of her home.
Several thoughts paraded through my mind as I watched this scene. I remembered, of course, how it had been in my day, but that wasn’t the most striking of my thoughts.
I thought of the way we treat each other every day over differences that should never come into play.
I live in the South, in the heart of racism. Although I don’t endorse, condone or otherwise participate in the activity, I see it every single day. I couldn’t help making the comparison of the children to how we react to this behavior in ourselves.
Racism doesn’t have a color, a nationality, or a sexuality. It is a disease in all walks of life, no matter how affluent or poverty stricken the beginnings. While it was supposed to have been abolished in the sixties, it hasn’t been. What’s worse, few seem to know what to do about it.
Personally, I think it begins when we ignore the children at play. Children learn and react to what they are taught, whether by example or by book. Perhaps, if they saw less distinction from us when we encounter someone different than ourselves, they may be more inclined to follow that lead. If we showed more compassion for another’s suffering, our children might refrain from inflicting suffering onto another.
I think we should teach them irrefutable truths: All people have feelings, all people have needs, and all people deserve to be treated the same, regardless of the differences.
With my own child, I have taught her to respect the differences in others because it is those differences that make the world such an interesting place. If we were all the same in every way, there would be no need to explore, learn, grow, and become. Diversity is the tool in which we plant our gardens and watch the flowers bloom. Without it, life as we know it would no longer exist. No Utopia would fill its place. Instead, our gardens would be barren, devoid of life.
Every single person has something great to offer the world. There is a purpose to each birth, to each life, to each difference. Don’t waste your opportunity to learn that purpose through acceptance of those who are not the same as you. Don’t throw away a flower for blooming at a different time of year. Don’t waste time with hatred when it will only take the sight from your eyes and destroy the beauty within you.
If you need a reason to follow the path of a kinder humanity, then look towards the children. They are the generation of seeds we’ve planted. Do you want them to suffer the same loss as we have? Or would you rather see them bloom, no matter the season, no matter the color?
As for me, I want to see the garden grow, prosper, and love with the compassion of innocence. I want the children to become the dreams they carry and Iwant them to learn how from those of us who have lived long enough to realize how beautiful those dreams can be.
I’m going to leave you with a song. It is one we should all remember. Written for children, it holds a valuable lesson for all of mankind.