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I love learning from others and constantly am reading and taking opportunities to learn from podcasts and classes.
My family, everyone is different from me!
My colleagues, my teammates in my choir, my friends.
My neighbors are very different from me.
And this community in this sacred place, as dear O. Cristina says.
My God help me to discern good and opportunities.
It is here every morning when meeting you in this sacred place, and in every encounter. Deeply grateful for this opportunity.
I do all the time where I work. Part of our yearly goals is to learn more about Diversity and Inclusion. This year we were asked to at least have 10 hours towards this goal. We have also added in the past year “Employee Resource Groups” that offer lunch and learns. I really enjoy this aspect of my work environment.
The depth and breadth of responses here is always a good place to look.
This may sound funny, but I genuinely miss the old Twitter as a place that gave me many opportunities to do just this. I deliberately sought out people to follow and learn from who have very different life experiences from mine because of how the world sees them. I’ve learned so much from people who work for social justice, disability justice, racial justice, by listening and not jumping in with my perspective as a college-educated middle-class white woman who currently doesn’t have disabilities (a temporary condition, if you think about it). I now subscribe to more newsletters to fill this gap but it really isn’t the same environment that Twitter was.
To me this isn’t the same as thinking “every human is unique and has something to teach me,” although that’s true (I love the saying Joseph shared from an older farmer–so wise!). This arises from being aware of my privilege and seeking to expand my awareness and understanding of the systemic barriers people face so I can then work to take those down.
This effort has changed my vocabulary as well. I’m much more aware of the way some words embed an implicit “-ism”. If I use an old saying I first look it up to know its history (“grandfather clause”, for example, arose from racist voting laws in the South; https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grandfather_clause) and then eliminate it from my usage. I majored in English and linguistics so this practice is something that sticks. (A resource if you’re interested in thinking about this some more: https://consciousstyleguide.com/general/.)
I attend quite a few conferences for my work and have for years. I started cultivating a practice of always choosing a table or group at a meal or reception that includes people of different racial backgrounds than my northern European heritage. This has broadened my circle of professional acquaintances greatly and I learn from listening to how they’re receiving the content of the conference.
Because of the nature of my specific position, which is relatively rare in my line of work, I’m often asked to speak on panels or give a keynote address. I enjoy this so initially my reflex was to say yes. Now my reflex is to ask who else is on the panel and to say that I can suggest potential speakers so they don’t have an all-white panel. If that would make the panel too large I’ll decline the invitation so other people get to learn from those perspectives I don’t bring. How do I know who to suggest? Those informal conversations at conferences, along with my professional network in general. Every time I make the direct statement that my policy is not to take a spot on an all-white panel, I have one more person thinking about that. The first time I did this I wondered how it would be received; the person on the other end of the e-mail thanked me for prompting them to think about this directly and offering the resource of potential speaker suggestions. If they’re white and they’re not doing what I’ve been doing at conferences so their circle of professional connections is primarily white, they don’t have the network I do to draw on. By doing this I’m making the panel one that I will learn more from myself.
All of this has enriched my life greatly. It arises from some of my earliest teachings from my mom; thanks, Mom! (https://biketoworkbarb.blogspot.com/2014/09/how-i-came-to-be-bike-advocate.html)
Every time I judge someone is an opportunity to remember that they are merely different from me and that I can learn something from their perspectives and points of view.
An early morning phone call began my encounters today of listening and learning how another walks through her grief and loss, and caregiving a spouse. Listening begins the opportunity to learn how others walk in their sandals, boots, or bare feet. May my ears be open, and any judgmental thoughts be removed from the lenses I see others with.
As I searched my memory bank, for
people “different” from me, I am struck
by the realization that everyone is different
and everyone is the same. Both thing are
true. Of course, I reflexively put people
in box’s, young, old, rich, poor, skinny,
fat, good, bad, conservative, liberal, and
on and on I go. What I am trying to keep
in mind, is that these are all illusions, forms
that I have created to keep my ego fed.
We all live and we all die.
Everyone is a teacher. Just ask a question and
listen to the answer with an open mind and
For me, it could be anywhere, as much as I want to learn. Everyone is different, even me and my twin sister. I wake up every morning, dress in, step out of my room, whom, I first encounter on that day, is a beginning of the opportunities to learn. I learn to persuade myself for a justice agreement, and presenting disagreement in peace and respectful.
The key to observing an opportunity is my mind, not location.
My first thought was of a culturally different person and who would that be? In reality, everyone is different from me. If I am aware and observant, I will be very smart and loving.
This website! I love that there are many different cultures, backgrounds, ages, etc to view different perspectives from and learn from each other.
Happy Sunday everyone 🙂
I truly value children as teachers. They inform my mind and heart. I taught middle school students for 20 years. The first day of school each year, I told them a big part of my work was to teach them, challenge them, celebrate their growth. And then I told them one of their jobs was to help me see the world through their eyes, and keep my young!
As I have mentioned before….I live in a very rural setting. I do not see any “strangers”…but I come to this site every day and read another’s lesson and/or perspective. I am always in awe of something that someone here has shared. Weekly on Saturday mornings when possible I meet with a group of 5-6 other ladies… we are all older and we have a “meditation session”. We have a reading or we are reading a book and we discuss what we have learned or what we are questioning. Our discussions are always enlightening. Here on this site every day- I look forward to ‘seeing” the folks who visit daily and read thier thoughts…and I learn and am connected. Thank you.
That is expressed so well. I agree with all you shared.
Everyone has something to teach me! This is wonderful, because there are teachers all around! Thank you !
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