How often we fail to see that anything and everything that comes into our lives has the potential to be an important – even the most important – teacher.
If we are open, our teachers come in every shape, color, form and species. How poverty-stricken we are when all our teachers – whether people, books, or something else – look and sound just like we do!
For example, recently Phyllis Schlafly died. I remember “back in the day” in the St. Louis area, she was a worthy adversary. I believe in almost nothing of what she said she believed and disagreed with her on almost everything. Yet, I also firmly believed in her inalienable right to say it and was fighting for that right for her and for myself.
She said that she believed that women should stay in the home and be supported by their husbands. She went to school, got a degree in law, wrote numerous books, became a public figure (probably much more so than her husband), made a lot of money and said what she thought and believed. In my book, that sounded very much like a feminist and I was fighting for her right to do just that.
Long ago, I learned that actions do speak louder than words. When the words say one thing and the actions say another, people tend to believe the actions. Politics tend to make the discrepancy between the two more obvious and more confusing.
I tend to believe the actions myself.
Even confusion can teach us a great deal.
There is an old saying – something like this: “Our lives are shaped by those who love us and those who refuse to love us.”
I have found the statement to be very true. We would wish that everyone likes and believes in us and often it is those who refuse to do that who help us with life’s most important lessons.
If we stop to think about it, we know that for our bodies to be healthy, we must give them a variety of food so that we get all the diversity of vitamins, minerals, and nutrients we need to build strong, healthy bodies.
The same is true for our minds if we only have a mental/spiritual/emotional diet of those with whom we agree and know what we know, our minds and beings become starved. When we only read what others like us read, believe what others like us read, and associate with others like us, we become lopsided, starved, angry, abusive persons stuck in our own excrement.
Why would we wish that on ourselves, our children or anyone?
What are we afraid of?
I once knew a woman who had a pretty hard life. Then she “found Jesus.” When she married and had children, she decided to home school them. She said that when she was sure that she had inculcated them thoroughly in her beliefs and knew they would never stray, she might be willing to let them associate with other children.
Is this child abuse?
What is she so afraid of?
Did her faith not teach her to trust her God and her children to find their own good path?
Did Phyllis Schlafly not believe that women had enough good sense to help the whole culture come to better ways of being persons and contributing to the culture if left to their own devices?
Oh ye of little faith!
Diversity is not easy. Isolation with our own thoughts and beliefs will and does destroy us all.