WHAT OTHERS SAY: Thankful for differences

Wednesday, November 21, 2012 | 2:24 p.m. CST

“All men are created equal,” the Declaration of Independence asserts, but they are not identical.

That’s something to be thankful for this Thanksgiving.

Imagine how boring human interaction would be if we all were identical. We would have little to discuss, share or learn.

Differences are what make communication and conversation interesting. Our backgrounds, experiences and scope of knowledge vary and shape each person as unique.

Why, then, are we inclined to cling to the notion our opinions are correct and others should share them? Why do we adhere to the concept that opinions are either right or wrong, not just different?

The answers may have something to do with tolerance and humility — two character traits that are useful, particularly during the holiday season.

Recently in this forum, we offered some tips to alleviate holiday stress, courtesy of the Building Strong Families program offered by the MU Extension.

Holidays mean crowds.

We assemble for family gatherings, attend holiday parties, stand in lines outside stores and shop in crowded aisles.

Amid the incessant chatter and jostling, tolerance and humility may be tested.

This Thanksgiving, may we be thankful for our capacity to tolerate the presence and opinions of others.

May we practice humility and acknowledge that holiday observances and traditions are for everyone to enjoy, without contention, argument or criticism.

May we appreciate our differences.

And, if differences need to be addressed, may we consider that a holiday gathering is neither the time nor place to do so.

Copyright Jefferson City News Tribune. Reprinted with permission.

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