I remember it like it was yesterday. Yes, I know that’s a cliché, but for all intents and purposes, it works. I was in my literature class, sitting in the furthest corner of the room away from the door, chatting with some friends during the free time our teacher had given us. It was a diverse corner of the room, and many of my friends had parents who were immigrants and still had a strong connection to lands outside of the United States. On this day, the subject of religion came up. Among us there were Muslims, Christians, Hindus, and Wiccans, and we spoke about the differences and traditions between each of the religions. We spoke about holidays, sacred days of worship, and even prominent figures within each religion. It was a real learning experience for all of us.
My teacher overheard our conversation and cut it short, saying that the topic of religion was forbidden in her classroom. The second the words left her mouth, I knew that she was afraid. It’s admittedly a touchy subject and if the wrong thing is said, a fight could have easily happened, at least in her eyes.
My friends and I were having an innocent and insightful discussion. Nobody raised their voices, argued, or anything even close to that. We were all open minded individuals, seeking to learn something new about each other. Of course, religion is a sensitive topic in any part of the world, but we all kept both ears open.
I bring this story up because it serves as an example. No matter which religion or part of the world my friends came from, we were all accepting of each other’s beliefs. What someone believes is their reality. It is true to them, so a belief can never be wrong in the eye of the beholder. Our belief system is what makes us who we are today and structures the way we interact with the world altogether.
The world would be a better place if we sat down and got a chance to know one another. We can learn a lot when we keep our ears open and our mouths closed. Understanding is the key to peace and happiness between us all.
Just look at the way children interact with each other. They don’t judge and willingly accept world that comes toward them. A child is lightyears ahead of an adult when it comes to being a good student.
Through an open minded approach, we can understand, and then sympathize with one another. Our bonds become stronger and the bridges of friendship are build right before our eyes.
People fear what they don’t understand, so make it a point to learn. You will find out that there is nothing to fear and that this world is much bigger and more glorious than we could have ever anticipated.