Friday, January 22, 2016

Rainbow Colored Crayons

Sometimes I serve a dinner that makes me really question my commitment to nutrition. Maybe it's chicken, rice, corn and apple slices. Or pork chops, mashed potatoes, applesauce, and squash. I blandly proclaim, "Today's dinner is brought to you the color beige!" My children do not laugh as much as I do. Possibly because they did not watch as much Sesame Street as I did growing up.

Much like way that a bland, colorless dinner is not nutritionally sound; a life free of color is not good for you. We need variety around us in all sorts of ways: variety in our diets, variety in the opinions of our friends, variety in our exercise routines...or so I've heard, anyway.

Usually when there are arguments on social media, I scroll on by and ignore them. "Don't feed the trolls" right? I acknowledge that there are much better platforms for making a difference. I acknowledge that some people get their jollies just from pushing other people's buttons. Heck! I have brothers and kids and pushing people's buttons is pretty much a sibling job description!

Unless people are consistently racist, xenophobic, or hateful, I tend to just scroll on by. I don't require everyone on my newsfeed to think exactly as I do. In fact, I have a few close friends or family members that I disagree with on some fundamental issues. I find that it is possible to disagree with someone without hating them. It's not always easy, but that's just how I see it.

My kids go to school in a very diverse school system. They interact with students from all different cultures on a regular basis. Most of the time they are in the minority. In fact, Benjamin is one of two Caucasian students in his whole Kindergarten class.  I enjoy the fact that they see so many different colors and ways of dressing around them. This is their normal. I hope that it helps them to respect all people as they grow.

The thing is, I'm not trying to change anyone's mind. It's quite possible for us to disagree and still get along. Sometimes I might learn something from you sharing your opinion or you might learn something from me sharing mine. We don't all have to agree. We do, however, need to be civil to one another.

Think how bland your plate looks at dinner with only beige foods. Isn't it nice to have some bright orange carrots, or some leafy greens on your plate? At first glance it seems safe to be surrounded by people who agree with you, but it's hard to grow without stretching and changing. They don't call them "growing pains" for nothing, you know.

I try to keep an open mind when people with differing opinions. I like to be around people from different cultures or with different life experiences. Sometimes I might change my mind about something I've always believed. Sometimes I might become more sure of something in my life by comparing it to someone else's experience. Different doesn't mean wrong or bad and disagreeing doesn't mean we can't be friends (or at the very least, civil to one another).

That's why, if I were a crayon, I'd be like one of those old square crayons my grandmother, the third grade teacher always had. They were thick and square and made up of all different colors. You didn't always get the picture you set out to draw, but whatever you colored it always looked bright and happy.

Linking up with Finish the Sentence Friday.

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