It is time to embrace diversity. Time to “cool our jets” so to speak and be more accepting. Whether we want to admit it or not, we all have some prejudices, some misconceptions, some things we do not understand, but very few of us are bigots. A bigot, according to Merriam-Webster is “a person who is obstinately or intolerantly devoted to his or her own opinions….one who regards or treats the members of a group (as a racial or ethnic group) with hatred and intolerance.”
I have to admit that I am sometimes devoted to my opinion, but I like to think I am open-minded. It may take me awhile to change my mind, but if I find an argument compelling enough I can be swayed. For example, I used to get behind the motto “let’s put Christ back in Christmas” and was a bit anti “Happy Holidays” and pro “Merry Christmas”. But I have seen the error of my ways.
Sometimes we believe that the very fibre of our beings is being threatened, and when we do, we fight to get back what we thought was lost. But in the scheme of things, Christ was not lost and neither was “Merry Christmas”. We over-reacted, and in that over-reaction, diversity suffers. A friend of mine (yes, you Cindy) posted this on Facebook and I could not agree more. Derived from The ManKind Project, it reads:
I don’t understand
what the big deal is…
If you are Jewish, tell me:
If you are African American (or Canadian), then tell me:
If you are Christian, tell me:
If you don’t prefer those, tell me:
I will not be offended.
I will be thankful that
You took the time to
Say something nice to me.
That is really all it comes down to: being nice. Taking the time to notice our fellow earthlings and saying something nice. Niceness is way under-rated yet the thing that most of us crave, nay require, is connection to our fellow human.
As the holiday season is upon us, it is time to let our defences down, not totally—but at least at half mast. What our neighbours just went through with the recent election illustrates my point. Vast chasms of difference separate so many. They are going to have to get over it. Change. Not accept what they can’t change, but adjust to it.
The other day, again on Facebook, a friend put out a plea to everyone to “Just stop!” And I responded with one word: “agreed”. She was tired of the bloodletting, the vitriol, the negativity. Me too. And by the way, we are Canadian. There is not a darn thing we can do about the election. I know that the elephant that is the United States affects us, but we are going to have to find a way to come to some peace about it. We can only hope the elephant does not roar. I do not want us to be complacent. We are certainly entitled to our opinions, but if they differ with reality, we are going to have to find a way to face this new reality.
Sometimes life bites. We just have to learn to chew a bit more thoughtfully.
Christmas is a time for thoughtfulness. A time for those who believe in God and Jesus to celebrate the birth of their Saviour. But it is also a time for frivolity—even jolliness. Santa is the distraught parent’s best friend, and though I hate to admit this, I did use him to “teach” my kids to be kinder when they were small. Yes, I did invoke that old chestnut that “Santa is watching to see who is good and who is bad” a few more times than I like to admit. And it worked like a charm.
Sometimes we just do what works. And if “Happy Holidays” works for you–
it works for me!
How do you feel?