With Labor Day passed, more schools are beginning, and kids everywhere are into a new normal.
Huck, in Pennsylvania, is heading to Kindergarten with the joy of an outgoing boy who loves people. He boldly took the bus for his first day–that’s miniature moxie.
Huck has entered kindergarten with a bold, brave brashness that comes from youth and an anticipation of the adventure that awaits him.
Not everyone enjoys school as much as he does.
My older grands, with experience under their belts and lacking in a vision at this point for the adventure called “school”, would just as soon see school behind them.
There’s a reason people say “Different strokes for different folks.”
A mid-twentieth century expression, there are many possibilities of how it originated. One option is Mohammed Ali, the boxer. He knocked out two famous heavyweight champions, Sonny Liston and Floyd Patterson. He didn’t have a particular punch he was known for–he merely hit hard and fast. So when asked how he was able to knock both men out, he commented, “I got different strokes for different folks.”
What works for one person, might not work for another.
The origin of this expression doesn’t matter; what it communicates is we are all different. What can be achieved in one place with one group of people, may not accomplish the same results with a different group in a totally different environment. To expect that one size fits all doesn’t work well with any diverse population.
Our differences are a gift. The only way to truly understand our distinctions is to engage one another in the conversation to discover who we really are. To listen to those who aren’t like us. To discover and validate their story.
That takes time and intent. Right now we live in a world that’s quick to label, quick to condemn what is seen as contrary, rather than making time to actually talk to one another.
Most act on the presumption that our perception is one hundred percent accurate. We don’t take into account different grids from varied backgrounds and experiences.
God created us as unique individuals who need community with others to be our best selves. Community isn’t a group of people who are all the same–nobody can grow if we are only with those exactly like us. We become narrow-minded and suspicious of anyone who isn’t absolutely the same as us.
The gift of humanity that God has blessed us all with is a gift of learning and appreciating. Different expands our thinking, opens our hearts to who can be part of our lives, and gives us the perspective of a huge tapestry of stories that we can’t afford to miss out on.
When Jesus died for the brokenness of all people, He did it for every human being who has ever lived. He Himself was Jewish; that didn’t keep Him from dying for those who didn’t agree with Him or didn’t like Him. No qualifiers.
We will have disagreements with most people. That shouldn’t keep us from valuing them for who they are and recognizing how they enrich our lives.
Different strokes might make us better folks.