When do we stop being friends? When do we stop caring for others? When do we start yelling?
When we’re very young, we play with each other. We don’t care about your skin color or what you look like. We don’t care how you talk. We don’t care if you go to church. We simply enjoy being together.
As we get older, differences begin to emerge. I like baseball, you like football. I like video games, you’d rather play outside. Thankfully, these are minor differences which allow us to still be friends. We may not be BFFs, but we still enjoy being around each other.
So when do things get ugly? Is it because I like the Cubs and you like the White Sox. Can we still be friends? Probably.
I tend to be loud, funny, and get my energy from being with others. You’re on the quiet, serious side and recharge with some alone time, perhaps reading a book. Still okay with each other? Hopefully.
What line is crossed that pits us against each other so much that we yell at each other? And we tweet ugly comments about each other and “everyone else like you.”
Is it politics? Because you vote for one candidate and I vote for a different one, does that mean we throw away all of the things we like about each other?
Is it race? Is it religion, gender, or generation?
The bigger question, though, is how do we get back to caring for each other?
It starts with a mindset that everyone has value. Everyone is unique and special. And everyone on this planet has something to contribute to life.
So think about this throughout the week — how do you view others? Not your friends or people who look and think like you — they are fun and easy to be around.
But how do you view people who don’t look like you? Who don’t think like you?
Do you believe they have something important to say? Might she or he be able to teach you something? Are you willing to listen — really listen? Maybe even change your mind?
Why not reach out to someone this week and start a conversation about your differences? Start with your similarities and build a foundation on which you can have that difficult conversation. If you stick with a mindset that everyone has value, including the person on the other side of the political, religious, or sexual preference spectrum, I bet you end up with a new or deeper friendship.
Then we can get back to caring for one another — just like we did when we were younger.
And life will be more fun and rewarding!
Write something about yourself. No need to be fancy, just an overview.