Thought for the Week
“Modern writers have suggested,” G.K. Chesterton argues (and it’s hard to believe he wrote this almost 120 years ago), that because of its lack of diversity, “the family is a bad institution.” And yet ironically, he goes on, “they are dismayed and terrified by the largeness and variety of the family.”
Seeking diversity (the ultimate human adventure), many move away from their provincial town or suburb to some throbbing metropolis. And there, amid the smorgasbord of ethnicities and cultures, hip deep in the goulash of hobbies, fancies and obsessions, “(they) succumb to the strange delusion that they are stepping into a world which is larger and more varied.” When, in truth, they are able to accomplish the opposite: to find a whole group of people exactly like themselves! And in doing so, they come more and more to believe there is something wrong with anyone who is not like them.
If you want real diversity, Chesterton insists, “climb down a chimney into any house at random, and get on as well as possible with the people inside. (For) that is essentially what each one of us did on the day that he was born.”
If you want to learn tolerance, talk to “that guy” across the hall. Or “that woman” in the next cubicle. Or “that couple” in the front pew. Or simply sit down and wait for your family to come home! For we find the greatest challenge to our preferences and prejudices among those we choose not to be with.
Who don’t you get? Who are you uncomfortable with? Meet them for coffee, or tea, or whatever “weird” thing they prefer. Then listen to them, really listen. You don’t have to agree with them. But listen. And try to understand. Because understanding trumps agreement any day. What are you waiting for?
The ultimate adventure awaits!