Books are the quietest and most constant of friends; they are the most accessible and wisest of counselors, and the most patient of teachers. ~Charles W. Eliot

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Generally speaking...



My kids get annoyed when I begin a sentence with "Kids your age...". My husband has a similar reaction when a sentence of mine begins with "Men...". But my life is busy and if I can save time with a well-placed generalization, it seems like a sensible thing to do. After all, kids their ages really do blame everything on their moms and men really do seem incapable of changing a toilet paper roll and putting the toilet seat down. It is what it is, right? Or is it? Generalizations and stereotypes often begin somewhere but, even though every adolescent seems to blame mom for everything that goes wrong in their lives, we all know there must be some household somewhere where this is not the case. Not mine; in my home, it's safe to bet that I'd even get blamed for leaving the toilet seat up!

We don't like to be subject to generalizations because that offends our sense of individuality. But maybe we could do more to preserve our uniqueness by simply breaking the mold and changing offensive conforming behavior. People don't tend to generalize when behavior is good, only when it drives them crazy!

It's important to break out of stereotypes and boxes and explore our differences and our potential. A world of sameness would be a lot less interesting than a world defined by diversity and difference. If we were all the same, we would miss out on the joy of meeting dancing dinosaurs (Brontorina) and a reading dog (How Rocket Learned to Read).

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