After writing about Tucker being in the middle (see Day #129 – 61 Day Journey, Part 3 of 3) I began thinking about the word ‘normal.’ I’m not a fan of the word…and evidently that has rubbed off on my family.
The other day while we were driving into town I used the word ‘heteronormative.’ My husband looked at me and said, “Do you have to use big words like that?” Now, he’s a very smart guy – so he was being a bit of a smart ankle. I replied, ‘Well…that’s really the only word that describes what it is I’m trying to describe. Normal just won’t do it.”
Estelle: “Besides normal isn’t a good word. Really, what is normal – aren’t we all different. Normal doesn’t really exist.”
Tucker: “Sure it does. That light pole right there is in it’s normal place.”
Husband: “Well, what about that light pole. It’s crooked. Calling the other light pole normal might hurt its feelings.”
Tucker: “Light poles are inanimate objects and I was referring to the position of the light pole, not the pole itself.”
Typical conversation in our vehicle…usually ending with Tucker being so ‘on point’ that we have to move forward.
What struck me about the conversation was Estelle’s comment about normal. We talk so much in our house about loving everyone, no matter what – that normal doesn’t exist to her. Thank goodness.
At my workplace we are continually having diversity discussions. Too often diversity is simply associated with color. Shouldn’t diversity include race? Sexual Orientation? Ethnicity? Religion? Yes – all of those things…and so much more. What if we changed our conversation and stopped dividing people when talking about acceptance? Doesn’t creating division to promote acceptance seem odd? It seems to me that the more we work at defining the more divisive we become, which is contrary to what we are trying to do in the first place.
My bonus son is taking a class in Human Relations at a local college this semester (that take college classes in high school for college credit thing). He came home the other day with a relatively profound [albeit self-proclaimed] statement, “You know I have it pretty good. We don’t really want for much. I’ve never really thought about that.” Okay, it’s not THAT profound, but he’s 17.
Then we had a wonderful conversation about diversity – or the lack of diversity in our county (97% Caucasian, 93% High School Graduation Rate, 7.3% Poverty Rate (2010 Census – http://quickfacts.census.gov/qfd/states/19/19017.html)). I asked him to be careful when thinking and talking about diversity. I challenged him to think about the diversity that does exist in our community. We may not be diverse in the more common ways – but how can we learn about acceptance and compassion with the diversity we do have to work with?
According to Merriam Webster, “the condition of having or being composed of differing elements.” (http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/diversity)
- Could we think about showing love and respect to people who come from ‘non-nuclear’ families?
- Could we think about showing love and respect to people who have physical limitations?
- Could we think about showing love and respect to people who have political differences?
- Could we think about showing love and respect to people with differing educational attainment levels?
- Could we think about showing love and respect to people who practice different faiths?
Could we think about showing love and respect to people whose brains may work different?
He looked at me…he knew exactly who I was talking about. As we prepare for Martin Luther King Jr. day why not prepare for loving all of the ‘not normal’ that we encounter in the world. Not that anything is REALLY normal at all.
Doesn’t it simply begin there? The appreciation of diversity – loving and respecting all people.
I certainly think so.
Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.