Wednesday November 26, 2014

Different is okay


A couple of weeks ago, I visited Las Vegas, Nevada for the first time. And boy, was it an eye-opener. There were people of all kinds walking the streets of that city. Some were dressed as superheroes, and some tried (successfully) to look like statues in order to get tourists to tip them. Others simply sat on the sidewalk, asking for change, armed with signs that said things like: “I’m not going to lie. I need beer.” And while at the end of the day, working the Las Vegas strip is not something that I would do, I had to admire their pluck, and dedication. The world, I was reminded, is full of all types of people — including those who go to work dressed as Batman. And that’s okay. That was a message heard at an Anti-Bullying day held at LeRoy School last week, as well — that we are not all alike, and it’s okay to be different. It’s a lesson that kids should definitely learn; that while they are all trying to be the same in order to avoid getting picked on for their differences, we are all inherently different. And that’s just fine. Some people like to read. Others don’t. Some like to watch television. Others like to spend time outside gardening. Some people like to work on their cars; others like to take theirs to the mechanic. One activity is not inherently better than another; they’re just different. It’s the same when it comes to careers. One person can be an excellent lawyer; another, an extremely competent mechanic. Our society tends to elevate the lawyers to a higher class than the mechanics, but that’s not right. The skill sets are completely different; one no better than the other; just different. That’s something we need to remember. Every person has something of value to add to this world. Whatever they do, whether it’s art or accounting, writing or welding, it’s something that no one else can offer. It’s unique. It’s special. And those things should not just be accepted, they should be celebrated. Yes, it’s a little weird to see a person pretending to be a Transformer standing on a street corner in Vegas. At least, it’s weird for someone like me, from rural Saskatchewan, where no one stands on a street corner unless they’re chatting with someone else they know, and they do that only in the summer. But if that Transformer isn’t hurting anyone, who am I to judge him or his life? Judgement, after all, is something that’s supposed to be reserved for the guy upstairs to do; it’s not for me, or for you. Yet we all do it; we all judge each other, from the time when we are children, and we scorn another child for not wearing the right thing, or having the right toy. Judgement isn’t healthy, really. Acceptance is. I’ve been trying to keep that in mind this week, since I witnessed all those kids wearing pink T-shirts, trying their best to treat each other with kindness, with love. Because if kids can do that, can’t we adults do it, too?



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