“It is not our differences that divide us. It is our inability to recognize, accept, and celebrate those differences.” -Audre Lorde
Let’s take a journey back to your middle school years. You’re in Math class and you’re being taught how to multiply and divide. Everyone knows that Math isn’t your favorite subject, so learning to add and subtract was a big victory. Now there’s more to learn? You’re listening to the teacher, but nothing is sticking; it’s official, you’re struggling to understand this lesson. So what happens next? Well, due to your lack of understanding, the teacher gives you an F and kicks you out of the class. You spend all of your middle school years only learning the subjects that you easily understand. And everyone lives happily ever after. The end.
Now, wake up, because we were obviously dreaming…
We all know that school didn’t work that way. As a student, if you didn’t understand something, you didn’t get a chance to forfeit learning about it. It was your teacher’s responsibility to teach you; it was your responsibility to learn. When you struggled to learn a specific subject, you didn’t get to bypass that class. There were tools and resources available to you; completely failing to understanding that subject wasn’t an option.
Why was this the case?
Because your teachers knew that you would be exposed to these lessons throughout your life. You would eventually get a job, and you would need to know how to add your money. You would apply to colleges and you would need to know proper grammar to write your personal essays. Every lesson mattered. Every subject needed to be understood.
What if life is our classroom and our differences are subjects that God is trying to teach us?
Would you try to learn?
You are going to encounter people who look different than you. You are going to encounter people who believe differently than you. You are going to encounter people who love differently than you. Don’t shun them, learn from them. We all have something to teach one another, we’re all in this class together, it’s our responsibility to make sure we leave no one behind.
“I believe that we are here for each other, not against each other. Everything comes from an understanding that you are a gift in my life – whoever you are, whatever our differences.” -John Denver