We can choose to make it as smooth as possible for ourselves and others while holding to basic values and making room for new ways of living out those values. While evolution of culture—within our own neighborhood or across the globe—is inevitable, we need to clearly understand our differences. In addition, we must choose carefully the changes we are willing to assimilate, and at the same time respect others enough to keep peace.
There are some who would like to see us all the same . . . but, whose way is best? Is there a best? There are cultures that exist in a vacuum, that are unwilling to look at ways of living other than their own. Others choose a more open view where choice and freedom to choose are the normal. These cultures will clash—but hopefully they will test and try new ideas and choose those that work and discard those that don’t. Communication and cultures evolve.
Perhaps the underlying girder that will hold culture together as it stretches and grows and evolves is respect. We will never all agree; let’s accept that. What we do with that fact in all the ways we communicate will determine if we can live together in peace. How? Respect is the bridge that can hold us together despite our differences.
Respect is esteem for or a sense of the worth or excellence of a person or their beliefs. I don’t even have to like what you stand for if I choose to respect your position because you are a person with free choice. When I give you that gift, and you give me that gift, we are equal whether we agree or not.
Here’s to joy in our differences,
Some portions drawn from article by Gregory Hartley and Maryann Karinch.
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