Monday, September 19, 2011

My little view

Saturday night we went to a birthday party for a family friend's 10-year-old daughter.  Double digits means, apparently, that one is too sophisticated to play with mere children.  At past parties, Zoe was snatched from her parents and sucked into the world of free-spirited play with all the cousins of this large, loving family.  Expecting much the same this time, I took her hand and climbed the steps to the playroom, where two of the girls had hidden from the boring adults.  As soon as we entered the room, I felt the chill as they stopped talking and looked at us.  I ignored it.  "Hi!  Would you guys mind if Zoe played up here with you?"

They stammered and stuttered and looked at each other, and it became quickly apparent that they wished to play alone, thankyouverymuch.  One of them fetched a small container of My Little Ponies and thrust it into Zoe's hands.  "Here.  Do you like My Little Pony?  You can take this downstairs and play." and with that we were summarily dismissed.

Thankfully Zoe is still too young to be insulted by this.  I, however, was upset on her behalf.  I realize kids will be kids, and they don't know Zoe all that well, and she's a mere 6 years old compared to their worldly 10ness, but still.  One should be gracious and accommodating to one's guests, regardless of one's personal preferences.  So Zoe and I and her grandmother sat on the floor downstairs, in the middle of the adult segment of the party, and played My Little Pony.  One of the moms figured out what was going on and, despite my entreaties to let it lie, charged upstairs to rectify the situation.  Nothing changed, but I'm glad she recognized the inherent lack of courtesy.

This is what I want to ensure my daughter never does.  I want her to foster a spirit of inclusion, not exclusion.  I want her to be open-minded and fair and...well...courteous.  We are still watching our Little House DVDs, and the current episode is dealing with tensions between White People and Injuns.  Whether it's racial tension and misunderstanding between cultures, or a basic sense of entitlement, it all comes down to common courtesy and respect.  People are different, be it because of their skin color or their economic status or their age or level of education.  Some folks don't believe in Jesus, some do.  Some don't believe in God, and some subscribe to a religion with no particular godhead but that states people should just be kind to each other.

I think there's enough room in this world for all of us, and that everyone will be a lot happier if we are just courteous to each other.  That means opening the door for folks who have their hands full.  It means driving as though there are other people on the road.  It means hanging up the damn phone or taking a break from texting to be with the people right in front of you.  Be in the moment, this moment.  And recognize that our differences are to be celebrated, not reviled.  This world would be a pretty crappy, boring place if we were all perfectly alike.  I much rather enjoy learning about what makes us all different, and accepting those differences rather than judging them.

Given all this, though, I still don't get the idea behind My Little Pony.  I mean, really?  Horses don't come in pastel colors with cute designs on their flanks.  It's just not natural.

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