This I Believe
I believe we are all different. “Well duh!” you respond. “How can you not see the difference? I’m a man you are a woman, I’m short, and you are tall…” and so on and on. That is not the difference I am talking about. I mean something more fundamental: that every being is an individual like no other, with his/her own capabilities, beliefs, desires.
Adults are very fond of making comparisons. They have a long list of ‘he does, she does’ always ending with ‘why can’t you?’ That was what my childhood was like. I’d look at them and wonder ‘Don’t you see why I can’t? I’m not them, I’m me. Look at me for what I am.’
That strengthened in me a resolve that I would not make comparisons, nor use contests between siblings as motivators. When my children come to me with the question “Mommy why can’t I be more like…” it is easy to explain that we are all different, all equally worthy. Each one is where she is because of what she has put into life. “Everyone is different,” is the most frequently chanted mantra in our house.
Richard Bach explains it best when he says we all inhabit different worlds. Literally. So we live on the same earth but each creates his own universe. A writer’s world is not the same as an accountant’s world which is not the same as a doctor’s. Same earth, different worlds.
It takes work to ‘walk the talk’. I hope I never ask my children to do something just because they love me. I’d rather that they, like King Lear’s Cordelia, return an honest answer and remain true to themselves.
This acknowledgement of the difference creates a ripple effect. If you don’t have to be like me I don’t have to be like you either. Then the next step from here (which took me a while to reach) is that just because we think alike on this matter does not mean we have to agree on every other. Discussions and arguments are part of the growth process too. Your thinking enriches me, as another’s will enrich yours.
What freedom that brings. You are you, and I am I, dancing the dance of life together.
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