One big happy

You can look at humanity in several ways. Whichever way you choose, we are all related. Whether you see us as children of God, or as having evolved from a common ancestor, we all have one common point in antiquity from which we have gone forth and multiplied.

You can observe a family and see differences. One child is taller, one has red hair, one is clever, one can’t make it across the room without stumbling. They are all immediately related. Give that family a few thousand years and the tall one finds a tall spouse and has tall kids, the clever one is only intrigued by a clever mate and has clever children, eventually those differences work there way into familial customs, the families move apart and adapt to their new surroundings. Ten thousand years ago these distances resulted in the formation of tribes, today we hold no allegiances to our surroundings.

A natural trait in animals, including humans, is to be wary of anything out of the ordinary. Keeping the bloodline pure was critical to survival for our ancestors. The child born missing a foot was destroyed, and thus whatever caused the mutation was not passed on to another generation. People who look different were eyed with suspicion. Red hair was unusual, and has almost been bred into extinction. Being left handed was unusual, and was fought with such force by society that being forced to live as right handed may be the source of dyslexia.

More severe differences drew more severe reactions. The skin color of Africans and features of Asians resulted in segregation that amplified the differences over time. While at one time, these people were just odd family members who moved away.

In contrast, today there are no great distances separating us. We can travel from one side of the world to the other in a day (less if we’re flying West). At a point in human history when we could all celebrate a world community, we cling to our differences. People emigrate and want to make their new country into their old country, hanging onto traditions their grandparents had abandoned.

It only takes the experience of seeing someone from your own culture living abroad to realize that we’re all the same. The Mexicans and Chinese and Lebanese who want to make their part of America like their homeland (or the homeland of their ancestors) are no different from the Americans trying to make their community in Spain more like America. We all resist assimilation.

So when I hear someone speaking about “racial injustice” or any of the other terms applied to xenophobia, I am saddened. The obvious reason for sadness is because I realize that at some level we are all related. Another reason is because by focusing on the differences, those differences tend to be reinforced.

We excel when we exploit our varied strengths, and use them to carry our varied weaknesses. When we treat a person as less than human, it is our humanity that is brought into question. We are all family. Civil rights are human rights.

A simple Scripture today, John 13:34 “A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another“.


7 comments on “One big happy

  1. Mike Reith says:

    Indeed, all the laws boil down to two–love God with all your heart and soul and mind, and love your neighbor as yourself. Simple to write, impossible to carry out consistently. Of course, Jesus spoke this after having washed the filthy feet of his disciples, including those of Judas, whom he knew was destined to betray him. Wow.


  2. Mari Collier says:

    Even according to the writings in the Bible, we are all one. By the way, our son is left-handed. We never tried to change that, but he was still dyslexic. The words went in the wrong direction and his spelling remains atrocious. I’m not going into the fights we had with school administrators. He ws even tested for his IQ so they could put him in the “dummy” classes. Fortunately, his IQ was far above normal and that did not happen. Dyslexia was not recognized when he was in school.


    • kblakecash says:

      The latest thought on Dyslexia (oddly from KU Leuven) is it is simply a non traditional way of accepting information. We tend to disparage the members of society that are different, and IQ tests are often a good thing. I went through a similar experience, testing was requested and as with your son, the results were above normal. In some ways that was a curse, a life time of “you’re not performing to your potential”.

      From this we find that people who experience life differently are not inferior. It’s easy for me to say we’re “superior” (I have the test results) but I’m comfortable with “different”.


      • Mari Collier says:

        You are quite correct. According to his teacher, “He was not living up to his potential.” I finally requested another teacher when my neighbor told me how she had belittled him in class. When the school went on double sessions, I transferred him to our parochial school. I had realized when he was a toddler that something was not “right” in his drawings so spent hours with him forming letters, numbers, and shapes. I’m glad I did.


  3. Mike Reith says:

    I went through something less intense but similar when our son started kindergarten, but it came out well. He was assessed with a learning disability and assigned to special class that was all male, with us being told that males had this issue far more often than females. At the time, I did not know how blessed he was to be in the Anchorage School System, which was one of the few that I have experienced that do not rush these boys to doctors to be labeled “hyperactive” and started on psych meds. He was turned back to regular classes in two years. A friend of mine here in California chose to home school and one their 8 children had a very short attention span. No problem. Every 30 minutes he did chores, outside. He’s about to finish and go to college, these many years later and is a “normal” male. I can’t help but think that society labels those who deviate from the norm (which does not mean there is anything wrong). Boys don’t handle school as well as girls. Sitting in a classroom for hours is not natural to many of their genes. But, instead of alter the teaching (as they did in Anchorage) to allow for natural maleness, they try to sedate boys into their ideal of behavior.


    • Mari Collier says:

      You were very lucky. My youngest brother would have been medicated for being “over active,” if they would have had such therapy in the 1940’s. Mama, however, used a different tactic. The summer before he started school, she would sit with him a the table doing coloring, letters, numbers, etc. while classical music played on the radio. The “books” were what she had made from brown paper sacks and yarn. By fall, my brother was able to sit quietly for thirty minutes or more. It’s sad, but today, most mothers would not be around during the day to devote that kind of time to one child.


      • Mike Reith says:

        What an inspiring mother! You surely are right about modern mothers not having enough time. With the beginning of the rise in income taxes in the 1950’s, more mothers have had to leave the home, each year.


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