April 25, 2016

How Other Viewpoints Enrich Us




What do you think; does everyone act and think the same? Do we all have the same interests and values? Metaphorically speaking, is the world full of dance-troupe members who wear the same kind of make-up and costumes, and are about the same height? The similarities don’t stop at their appearance. The best dance groups will be so fluid and synchronized that viewers don’t bother to distinguish individuals among them.

DM Nation

This is a dance crew of young ladies from Quebec, Canada. They made it into the finals of America’s Got Talent last year. These talented young stars have regulated their look and movements even more than some other groups. The ladies move as one, in many cases.

Synchronization in every respect is the key. Their costumes are identical. They all wear their hair straight, long, and mainly pulled back in a ponytail. Black lipstick tops off their mannequin-like look.

Hello?! This is The Real World!

Dance crews benefit from presenting themselves as a group, not as individuals. After all, we wouldn’t want to see any Irish step dancers mixed in with a Latin dance troop. That would be confusing and counterproductive.  However, everyday people are different.

The truth is that we shouldn’t expect individuals to look, act, and think the same. That’s unfair and unrealistic. We are what we are; take us, or leave us.

I don’t mean to imply that we should be allowed to run roughshod over peoples’ sensitivities in the name of being true to ourselves. I mean that everyone needs to allow for a variety of attitudes and styles, within reason.

Please see my book, Accept No Trash Talk: Overcoming the Odds , for more on this subject.

Examples of Differences

Beauty and the Beast

My daughter and I saw the brilliant production of this Disney classic at her high school last weekend. It was three hours of pure pleasure. She knows many of the performers. One of them has been a good friend for about nine years. Here are some of the actors’ characteristics:
  • Love to sing, dance, and play instruments
  • Come alive on the stage—literally
  • Thrive in company with others, especially when performing
  • Don’t mind memorizing lines
  • Love dressing up

How about my daughter, Caitlin? What are her qualities?
  • Reserved
  • Plays the piano, but she doesn’t enjoy performing that much
  • Doesn’t enjoy singing or dancing in public
  • Prefers staying at home to quite a few other activities
  • Doesn’t enjoy memorizing anything

Church

I’m sure that my congregation is the same as any other: some people are willing and able to work harder than others. A few members are just not physically or spiritually ready to take on the biggest tasks. Naturally, that doesn’t give others the right to judge them. The individuals who keep their faith despite numerous domestic trials teach us as much as those who have the spiritual and physical capacity to lead us.

We aren’t all in the same place, spiritually, and that’s okay. Jesus taught and helped people at every level of life. The mother of three young children who can’t sit still may have no official church responsibilities. However, she is as worthwhile as the Sunday School teacher with teenagers who fend for themselves.

My Conclusion

"Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you, in order to bring praise to God.”—Romans 15:7 (NIV)

We weren’t born into a world of beautiful dancers who look the same, move the same, and have the same goals. We are unique, and that’s the way life was meant to be. We learn and grow from our interactions.

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How have you learned from people who are different from you?