ROSE NOLEN: 'Tomorrow we will live in a world of our children'

Tuesday, June 5, 2012 | 6:00 a.m. CDT

I’m glad I grew up in a country where the majority of the people didn’t look like me. This gave me the opportunity to learn as a child that this was a world of give and take. This provided me with the chance early on to understand that this wasn’t ever going to be a place where it was all about me; I had to make accommodations if I was ever going to fit in.

Now that may sound like a heavy load for a little child to carry, but I always felt equal to the challenge. I was a person who always liked puzzles and problems that you had to use your brain to work through. For example, I was always underweight, so I needed an edge. I figured out pretty early that my greatest advantage was to learn how to think faster than other people. Consequently, I applied myself to my studies.

I never wanted to be popular, so I was always content to read books. And I could easily entertain myself the same way. One day, I realized that what I really wanted to do was to write down my thoughts and keep track of what I was learning. And ultimately, it was this writing thing that enabled me to find my place in the world. In the end, it was my need to figure things out that provided the strength to be able to function in a world where I was considered a minority.

I know that some people are having a hard time now that they have found themselves to be a minority. They are having a difficult time accepting the fact that the population of other races has grown faster than their own and consequently pushed them to the bottom of the list. After all, they are the people who founded the country and have held most of the highest offices since the country has been in existence. That, I am sure, is quite a lot to get used to. Now they have to learn what it is like to be a minority.

There are a lot of people who need something to feel superior and I guess they are just going to have to accept that they are no better than the rest of us. These are people who feel they should be treated differently — after all, it was their country first and then they shared it with the rest of us. Except that wasn’t quite the way things were. Some of us were brought here to do the work of building the country. Therefore, we earned the right to enjoy the fruits of our labor.

As minutes march on, we are learning little by little to come together as one people. Every year, thousands of new people are born into the world. And each year it is a different place — made different by those who came before. This is the reality we live with every day. America is becoming what it will be. No one can hold back the tide. Today, we live in the world of our fathers; tomorrow we will live in the world of our children.

What matters is that every day counts. In a thousand little ways, we have the opportunity to make the world a brighter place. Some people never want to leave the world of their fathers. This was the place where they felt most safe, most protected and most loved. But time never stands still and life moves on and so must we.

What kind of country will we be living in, in a few years? I imagine it will be the kind of country we create. Hopefully, we have learned lessons that the past was meant to teach us. Hopefully, we can borrow the good from the cultures which surround us, and destroy the bad. Maybe we can truly learn to build a better world.

What a great idea.

You can join the conversation with Rose M. Nolen by calling her at 882-5734 or emailing her at Questions? Contact opinion editor Elizabeth Conner.

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