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Miles of smiles brings us together – Not separated

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This is not a religious or political post but rather a reflection on us as people. Have you ever wondered why we are separated by geographic, race, religion, social, political or ideological differences? Who said and decided that the world must be carved up and divided? We have spent considerable amount of time to separate those who are different from us and as a result, have created an environment of fear and uncertainty. At times, we seem to be drifting further and further away from each other.

We need to take the time to understand those who are different from ourselves. I have made the most of this by visiting a number of places and when you spend time talking to others or seeing what their lives are like, you come to appreciate what their (our) lives are all about. By traveling, you learn much about others and yourself if you keep an open mind. You don’t go there to compare who you are or what you have but rather how we all fit together. You also learn that really we are not that much different from each other. It is amazing what a smile can do. It is by traveling that you remove those fears that society portrays. Fear causes us to pit ourselves into the us against them mentality. I have been blessed with knowing students/alumni from so many different backgrounds and that has made me richer as an individual. Each of my students are unique to each other; however, all bring similar thoughts.

I think it interesting how perceptions shape our views of people and society. When I tell people that I have had the opportunity to travel to the Middle East four times and people ask if I was ever scared of a terrorist attack. Why is this their first response? I respond that the Middle East is indeed very dangerous…if you try and cross the road that is! I have never felt safer than when I would walk the streets of Bahrain, Kuwait or Doha at midnight. The dangerous part was that they lack road safety and you just have to be careful stepping off the curb.

Have you ever wondered why we are separated by religious or political lines? We line up ourselves to beliefs or ideologies and do some fairly catastrophic things to harm each other in the name of religion or politics. If you think about it, would it not have been better to separate ourselves, if dictated we have to separate ourselves, based on blood types. If you think about it, that makes us physically related more than any belief or ideology and if we are to try and harm each other, you would have the right blood type right next to you. Now that makes more sense to me than trying to figure out how each of us are different.

People! We all smile, cry, laugh and have emotions. We all have families and friends. We all have a need to help each other. We all look at each other with our eyes and how can you embrace hate when you look at someone in the eyes. We all have someone who cares about us and we all care about someone. I have always found that a smile or hug is a great tool to remove fear and to establish a solid relationship.


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