Why are we human beings so bent on finding differences in one another? It is such a uniquely human concept. And what purpose does it serve in the grander scheme of life? To point out our differences?
I had a disarming conversation with a child recently. And in the course of this conversation, an innocent, unaffected child made some remarks about another child with special needs, serving to show those listening how very different the latter child was from the former. And in the course of conversation, this little one made the comment about how different in intellectual and physical ways she was from the other little girl.
A five year old made these innocuous observations, for they were just that. Spoken with the honesty of a child, devoid of the inferential trappings that we adults use to emphasize the point. And yet. These remarks were stereotypical remarks. And at such a tender age!
To be fair. There was no sense of malcontent in the speaking, nor any desire to belittle the other child on the part of the speaker. In fact, the two are friends, a duo of sorts. And yes, there are differences from one to the other on many levels. One has blond hair and the other brown. It is just off-setting to hear the words of truth spoken from a five-year old’s unfiltered tongue.
Because if we humans are so very good at knowing ‘what is different’ about one another at the tender age of five, think of all the practice we will have at critiquing one another when we hit the ripe old age of thirty-five, forty-five, fifty-five. And upwards.
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