During the week between Christmas and New Year's day, my wife and I went to the Biltmore Estate in Asheville, North Carolina. Near the end of the day, we stopped in one of the gift shops, and we found the plaque shown in the picture with this post. We immediately loved it, and I knew that it would become the object of a series of posts inspired by the message on it. This is the first of those posts.
Accept differences. What a simple, yet powerful concept.
By accept differences, I do not mean tolerance. I have already written about why I don't want to be a tolerant person.
When I say accept differences, I mean that I see the power in understanding how other people develop thoughts and feelings about certain topics that are different from my thoughts and feelings without lapsing into criticism, condemnation, and moral judgment about them as human beings.
As I see it, accept differences means that I can…
- Accept the person even when I do not accept his ideas, thoughts, and beliefs
- Be friendly, cordial, and respectful despite our different viewpoints
- Work with someone to solve a problem even when we disagree about issues unrelated to the problem we are solving.
One day recently, my wife told a teenage girl that she disagreed with the teenager's choice and the teenager replied: “Mrs. Harris, don't be hatin'.”
Does disagreement really have to imply hate?
I do not think that my disagreement with a persons behaviors or choices means that I hate her, and I don't believe that a person hates me simply because she disagrees with me.