Saturday, August 12, 2006

Respecting and Understanding Others

As children we are often raised in a gender and age based world. As boys, for example we now live in a video game world, augmented by tv and movies. This world immunizes us from significant parts of the larger world around us where old foggies like me read a lot and have a very different vision of reality.

Our children learn in specialized worlds of soccer and other activities meant to keep them busy and supposedly happy.

It is unclear to me how we are taught in such worlds how to understand and respect the many traditional cultures around us including that of the many Muslim and African peoples of the world.

In the United States our world is often extremely insular. We don't know the geography of most of the world. We confuse the politics of others. We falsely believe that things in the United States are "better" than everywhere else, when we don't despair about our crime rates and other problems.

I think it important for us to do things differently! Raising boys and girls more together, while recognizing that there are gender differences is important. Beginning to bridge the class and race differences in our own country in a variety of ways is important - through our schools and in other ways.

As adults we need to learn through volunteer work and in other ways how to better understand people whose lives are very different from ours. Ironically, as media consolidations and the politics of divisiveness push us apart, we also have things like the internet which allow us to learn much more.


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