A friend of mine wrote a recent post to his blog asking the question “when did different become wrong”. This piece is in no way pointed at the examples he used in his blog, but simply my thoughts on that question in general.
As I grew into adulthood and lived on my own, I realized how much of my parents’ ways of doing things had unconsciously become my ways. For a silly example, but one to which we can probably all relate, my family was an “over” family. You know, that’s our preferred way of how the toilet paper should be draped on the bathroom wall. Well, Without thinking about it, when I had my first place, I instinctively hung my toilet paper over-the-top. I did that for years, and still do.
But I learned something when I had a girlfriend with a cat.
This is a fun and silly reminder that in life, there are many little things that we are practically programmed to think and do. For certain people in certain circumstances, those things may work perfectly well. However, for others, not-so-much.
In many areas in our lives, it’s not so much about right and wrong, but your way and my way. However, there are other areas in life where it’s definitely about right and wrong. What do you do when you have two people or factions who have completely opposite opinions on something, yet they both think they’re right? Do you protest and throw rocks through their windows?
I watched some of the activities outside the arenas of both parties’ national conventions the past couple weeks. I also remember the time when I was unwittingly smack dab in the middle of one in downtown San Jose. In those cases, people were so self-righteous that they somehow felt the liberty and even obligation to say and do things which were completely senseless, rude, crude and even illegal. I heard and saw things both said and done in the presence of small children. In fact, I saw parents, with their own children in tow, doing and saying despicable things right there in front of their children.
On the other extreme, I see people who believe they are so enlightened because they are completely apathetic about what others believe and do. Hey, to each his own.
I am a firm believer that you’re not going to “win” too many people to your way of thinking by yelling at and insulting them. I am also one who believes that we should love people enough that if they are doing something and believe in something we believe is damaging, we really should care and not just “live and let live”.
There have been areas in my life where I have changed my opinions and ways of doing things. Those areas were not as a result of being beaten over the head by someone else, nor was it by someone who “loved” me so much as to let me just do whatever I wanted. I have made my own decisions, and established my own values based on my own experiences. My parents raised me well, but there came a time when I had to choose for myself which direction I would go with my life. My path has had many ill-timed and misguided diversions. But I had to come to a place where I had to identify what it was I wanted in life, and find people who were already “there”, and spend time with them. When someone has what you want, you’re more likely to experience the desired results by learning from their journeys.
I want to lead a life and experience results that others wish to achieve. And for those who are finding their way, I want to make myself available to pass on what I’ve learned from others and our experiences.
If you have a different ideology, hey, I’m not going to beat you over the head with “my way”. I hope I’m big enough to be your friend anyway, despite our differences. However, I will in no way be indifferent or apathetic about you and our differences. You may have something in your life I need, and maybe…just maybe, there’s something in mine that you need.