I believe in accepting people. This country is home to millions of people all of whom come from different pasts, look different, act different, have different hobbies and even different sexual preferences. No two people are alike and in my opinion, that’s the best part about living in a country like the United States. Unfortunately along with all of this diversity come problems such as stereotyping and prejudices. Instead of criticizing people for their differences we need to accept the diversity and appreciate it. Everyone is guilty of stereotyping others at some point or another and that’s okay, it is natural. What’s important is to not let these preconceptions prevent you from accepting someone for who they are.
This is something that I learned from my father, when he didn’t even know he was teaching me. One Saturday afternoon a police officer knocked on our front door and my dad answered it. An angry look came over his face immediately, wondering if his eighteen year old son had gotten in trouble for skateboarding somewhere he shouldn’t be or driving too fast through our neighborhood. Instead the officer told my father that he had seen my younger brother drive his four-wheeler through the security gate across the street and vandalize the tower holding the town’s water supply. Instead of getting upset right away, my dad told the officer that he should be sure of what he sees before accusing someone of a crime. My brother doesn’t have an ATV and he was working at the time that the vandalizing happened.
My brother Cory is eighteen years old; he skateboards, wears tight jeans and studded belts, and yes probably does some stupid teenage things sometimes. My dad wasn’t always fond of his friends and his hobby of skateboarding. He felt that people had a negative perception of Cory’s lifestyle of skateboarding and playing the drums. To be honest even my father wasn’t the fondest of the image that Cory was portraying to everyone around him. This incident with the police officer proved to my dad that he should just accept Cory and his hobbies and realize that they are not a negative aspect of his life.
Witnessing this realization made me see that so many people are not accepting of others and that life in general would be a lot easier if everyone embraced difference every once in a while. By not accepting others for being different, it is pushing them to conform and let’s be honest, how interesting would life be if everyone were the same?
If you enjoyed this essay, please consider making a tax-deductible contribution to This I Believe, Inc.