Last night I attended my son’s middle school concert. Kids from the band, orchestra, and chorus performed Christmas, Chanukah, and African songs in celebration of the Holidays. As I watched the 7th and 8th graders make their way on and off the stage, I was in awe of the diversity of the student body. As a school and a district, I truly believe that is our greatest strength. Our kids have the rare opportunity to learn about different cultures, religions, and lifestyles in a non-judgemental environment that welcomes everyone equally. And I wonder, why can’t our country, as a whole, be more like that.
Kids don’t judge. They are naturally accepting. Their criteria for selecting a new friend can be as simple as simple as liking Lego or playing on the same soccer team. It’s that simple. Lately, I have been appalled by the rhetoric from some of America’s leaders and would-be leaders. There’s so much hatred in this world and that distrust and prejudice is only exacerbated by those who feed on the fears and insecurities of the American people. In a way, the behavior of those who encourage negativity and hatred are just as bad as those who murder in the name of their god – because, in the end, the outcome is the same – more dead people.
As our society grows increasingly diverse, and as opposing ideologies are forced to compromise, we, as a society are challenged to find a way to live harmoniously. As evidenced by the incredibly beautiful concert performance I watched at my son’s middle school, it can be done. It’s up to us, as the guiding generation, to show them how – not divide them even further.