Someone Else’s Skin

On my way home from swimming at the Y the other morning, I noticed a decal on the rear of the car in front of me. It was a Chevy “urinating” on a Ford. I chuckled to myself smugly–how absolutely silly it seemed to degrade other automobile models, of all things.

I see this in other circumstances too–OU fans celebrate the upside down Longhorn, Republicans bash Democrats and vice versa; churches even mock the worship style of other churches.

I’ve never been a diehard fan of anything. Perhaps that’s why I can’t relate to this sort of allegiance.

I moved around eight times growing up, so just as soon as I became a “fan” of one school or pro sports team or denomination, we moved, and I was forced to shift my homage yet again.

I wonder if staying in just one place causes us to become egotistical and chauvinistic, believing our place is superior to all other places, and then putting the other down as a result. Our town is superior to other towns. Our country. Our church. Our team. Our family. Our dog. Our car.

So perhaps the opposite is also true: if we travel, meet people unlike us, extend ourselves beyond our place of comfort, maybe we begin to see their beauty. We realize that perhaps we have more commonalities than we have differences; and maybe we don’t have to be enemies.

We all have belly buttons.

We all have belly buttons.

I’m not pretending to be political here…I’m admittedly the worst citizen ever and can’t bear to watch even the nightly news…I’m just saying I grow as a person when I expand my horizons, my perspectives, my ideas…and quite frankly, when I leave the United States (or at least the Midwest) for a while.

I had the privilege of teaching To Kill a Mockingbird to twelve English classes for two years. I think I was changed by this book. I suspect my students were too, despite their rolling eyes. I love Atticus’s advice to Scout (even more now as a mom to a child with disabilities):

“If you can learn a simple trick, Scout, you’ll get along a lot better with all kinds of folks. You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view…until you climb into his skin and walk around in it.”scout_atticusWould love to know your thoughts on this topic!

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3 thoughts on “Someone Else’s Skin

  1. Amen!! And seeing those things from a whole new perspective now! Plan on reading that book to Owens Wood one day and discussing the impact. Well said. love.

  2. yep. totally agree. i think it’s so easy to get “stuck.” i know a lot of “stuck” people who are pretty hard and don’t seem open to anything that goes against their norm. meeting new people, going new places, trying new things, hearing new perspectives – i think it’s SO necessary.

  3. Pingback: On Being Different | our invincible summers

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