Bucks County Herald

Camille Granito Mancuso: Chatterbox

Forgetting and remembering differences

Out of the mouths of babes – well, we all know about that – so, last week, I was driving my two young grandsons to school and listening to a CD from an artist we just call, “The Hot Wings Guy.”

The boys and I heard him playing last summer at a local restaurant. We all loved his music so much we bought his CD, and because we were all eating hot wings that night, he ended up with that pseudonym.

In one of his songs, he sings the line, “… forgetting the differences we have” several times. It’s a great song and, better than that, in my car that morning with both boys, it launched a conversation about people’s differences, which enlightened us all. The 8-year-old started it by saying that forgetting our differences is a good thing. Then, he added that, sometimes, it’s also good to remember them (maybe I should have asked to see his driver’s license).

On the one hand, we have the kind of differences that the singer was alluding to. Most often, friends, family members, and even life partners, have alternate points of view, taste, goals, communication styles and methods of achievement. We may have arguments, but we usually resolve them and manage to keep the relationship intact.

Moving forward, of course, we need to forget about the argument we had over them. This is the scenario in which forgetting the disagreements, aka differences, we have is a good thing. Working on ironing things out to accomplish common goals is always advised, but leaving markers at the locations where we have buried the hatchet is not recommended.

On the other hand, we all have differences that are inherent on a much deeper scale. We are black, white, brown, red, and yellow; we have different heritages, religions, and methods, as well as depths, of belief. We each, also, have various ideas of what is comfortable for us about others. That, really is the hinge-pin of most of what we communicate to others who are different from us.

Today, around the world, but in America especially, we are seeing intolerance among groups of people who are different from one another. These are the cases, though, in which forgetting the differences we have is not a good thing. These are the differences we should remain aware and respectful of. These are the differences that make the world great and, the unique American blend of them is what made our nation great, and strong.

However different others are from us, in culture, religion, language, traditions, and family are, we are better by far if we remember that ours is just one of many. It will allow us to be free to learn about others and to use that expanded knowledge to embrace those peoples and their heritage, to enjoy them, and share those new cultures with the ones we love.

In a Chatterbox column, long ago, we talked about how wonderful it is that Americans can walk through a street fair and have hot dogs, General Tso chicken, Italian sausage and peppers, burritos, gyros, and falafel with beer, wine and coffee, and where would we be without chocolate?

America is rich in diversity, but our whole world is as wonderful as it is huge. Its peoples, with all their differences in dress, religion, culture, and food, all affected by geography and natural surroundings, has grown smaller only because of the desire to explore whether satisfied by feet, camels, ships or satellites. Even the technology developed over just the last 10 years is enough to boggle our mind. We are so connected via that technology, politically and socially, that we should be more connected culturally, spiritually, and personally than ever before in history.

We should be more educated about each other, more accepting of one another, and more involved with helping one another as best as we can, without trying to alter each other. Moreover, we should understand, more than ever before, that the only way to peace is through peace.

Therefore, as imperative as it is to interpersonal relationships to forget the differences we have, it’s equally imperative to a harmonious nation and to international relationships to remember them.

In my high-speed life as a mother/chauffeur years ago, my early morning chats with my kids became memories most cherished by them and me. This column is inspired by those same kinds of chats, now courtesy of my grandsons … oh, and, of course, let’s not forget The Hot Wings Guy.

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