This week, my wife and daughter brought home a movie – The Boy in The Stripped Pajamas – for us to watch as a family. The movie is based on a novel of the same name that chronicles the story of two boys living in Germany during World War II. One boy is the son of a German general and the other an imprisoned Jew.
Despite their differences, the two boys become friends across the barbed-wire fence that separates their two worlds.
Based on the stories they hear from the adults in their lives, Bruno (the General’s son) says that he and Shmuel (the Jewish boy) are supposed to be enemies. You can see Bruno wrestling with this concept starting at the 6 minute 49 second mark in the video with this post.
This movie is set in a time filled with racism and violence. A time when the differences between us became much more important than the similarities. And, I wonder, have people really changed? Have we gotten better? Or, are we just better at hiding our thoughts that condemn others because they are different from us?
As we work to collaborate, build teams, forge relationships, and work with others; can we get past our differences? Is different necessarily bad? Do we all have to look, act, and think the same? Is there room for differences in our relationships? Can we work for common good despite them?
Just because we might be different, are we really supposed to be enemies?