Many years ago some camp counselors and psychology types conducted an experiment…
The camp residents included a group of “jock” kids, rough and tumble sports types, and a group of “math camp” kids, more brains than brawn and not necessarily as vocal. The researchers put a mixture of both groups into two trucks to go to an activity away from the main camp, and had one of the two trucks “break down” for several hours on the way.
The kids from the first, non-breakdown, truck kept acting the way they always had: the “jocks” picked on the “nerds” and the “nerds” wouldn’t associate with the “jocks”
But, something very interesting happened on the second truck. The kids on the truck that “broke down” spent more time together; they had a shared experience. That experience brought the two separate groups together.
When the second truck, finally, made it back to camp, the kids behaved differently: the “jocks” from the second truck were more likely to defend “their nerds” from the other jocks; the “math camp” kids were more willing to associate with “their jocks”. The kids from the second truck successfully completed other, additional, activities together.
Division and Unification
There are many people that want to pull us apart. They tell us: men “can’t” be work with women (or treat them fairly), Blacks and Whites “can’t” get along (and neither one can be friends with the Latinos); Heterosexuals “Can’t” get along with Homosexuals (and the Transgender crowd is a whole ‘nother can of worms); the Deaf “can’t” get along with those that hear (and God help you if you get a cochlear implant!); and the blind “must never” associate with those who can see.
I italicized blind and those who can see because we’re not talking just about literal, physical vision; we’re also talking about believers and non-believers, conservatives and liberals, football (American) fans versus football (aka soccer) fans, and “right thinking” folks who have their breakfast sandwiches on toast versus “those apostates” who insist on serving eggs, cheese, and/or breakfast meats on a biscuit or English muffin.
We have differences of opinion, and there are things that divide us from time to time. And, as long as we let differences separated us, as long as we allow people who harp on those differences to separate us, we can’t do the one thing we truly need to do: build on our shared beliefs and experiences.
It is a fact that two can do more together than one can do alone. It is also a fact that no two persons, even identical twins, truly see everything exactly the same. Even “identical” twins have their differences. One challenge we have in life is to figure out how to get past those differences and work together.
When the 13 colonies that first formed the United States of America came together they didn’t agree on a lot of things (including taxes and slavery…), but they agreed that what the British Crown was doing to them was unfair and unacceptable. The founding fathers of the country in which I (and many of you) live had differences, but they got past them to build something greater than themselves.
And we can do that too…
We can dear reader… We all have dreams and aspirations, and we will all have to work with someone who we don’t entirely see eye to eye with to get them done. What we have to do is get past our differences and build on our shared beliefs and experiences. We have to learn how to “bury the hatchet” on old grudges and disagreements and figure out how to work with people to achieve the things we value and want to do.
The funny thing is, we often have shared values and desires if we bother to look.
In my community we have both Muslims and members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. Guess what, most of both groups love their families. They believe in honor (even if they see it differently). They are people of faith (even if those faiths are different). If both groups can look past their differences, they can do great things together.
And I can say the same thing about Democrats and Republicans.
I can say the same thing about men and women.
I can say the same thing about different races/ethnicities
I can say the same thing about people of different genders and gender identities.
I can say the same thing about “McDonalds” people and “Jack in the Box” people (I hope you’re getting the point by now. I could do this all day if I needed to, but I really don’t want to…).
It is by building on shared beliefs, experiences, and desires that we build groups, teams, families, and communities. It is by getting over our differences that we do great things.
There are those who will try to tear down this message. To those, I ask “Why do you seek to tear down when you could build up?” (I’ll also tell them they’re too late… in my Forever Mountain post this week I’m already nitpicking this post as part of an example and review of some editing software…)
That’s it for this one dear reader. Build on your commonalities, do great things, and I’ll see you next post!