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Encourage diversity

September 21, 2017
Gwen Crum , MOV Parent

It seems like every time you turn on the television or log on to social media, we are inundated with stories of violence and hatred. It's easy to turn the channel or scroll past these stories because we believe it doesn't affect us. We buy into the cliche, "It won't happen here." Whether it's happening in our hometown or not is irrelevant. Whether you address an injustice among your friends or choose not to participate in angry rhetoric posted online, are you helping your children learn to love and respect?

Nelson Mandela said, "No one is born hating another person because of the color of his skin, or his background, or his religion. People must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite."

Looking around the Mid-Ohio Valley, sometimes it's easy to believe there's little diversity because over 95 percent of our population is white, but diversity comes in other forms: age, religion, socio-economic, etc.

The world is more diverse than ever. As we humans travel and transplant ourselves across this vast planet, our cultures, religions and preferences are constantly being challenged. Exposure to and acknowledgment of that diversity is how we find the similarities among differences. Diversity allows us to learn from each other even if someone looks or acts nothing like us or those around us. We might even find that those who look most like us are those with whom we have the least in common.

I encourage you to think about your day. Do you ever expose yourself to people who challenge your thinking? I hope you taking the time to listen and learn from them not just disagree.

And if you do disagree, do so respectfully. Step outside your comfort zone and discover how others live and think. You might not agree, but you and your children might make some new friends.

Gwen Crum is a Families and Health Agent for the WVU Extension Service.



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