We live in neighborhoods filled with the same economic groups, we attend churches with people from basically similar backgrounds, our social world is filled with those like us, and the work place is the epitome of our peer group. OH, we certainly have differences, but quite by default, we gravitate toward those who are like us. We know little about others who do not look like us, are not similarly educated, do not attend the same schools, are not the same martial status, and on and on.
I have a very sweet dear friend who told me her struggle with racial prejudice. Agreeing with her, there is certainly still prejudice based upon race in this world, I shared with her the prejudice I felt because of my martial status. We all have reason to feel prejudice at times, be it economic, education, race, social , or any number of avenues. We do not live in a cookie cutter world, but yet we seem to hang out with cookies who mostly look like us--without even thinking. Our need for acceptance creates a fear of rejection when we step out of the bounds of that which is known.
How do we pop that bubble? How do we expand our vision of those beyond our small sphere of comfort? Volunteering has helped me to step out of the bubble. In the school system, especially the public school system, we meet children from every walk of life. Guess what--children are children and they are, for the most part, a delight. You learn they are really more similarities than differences at a young age. They want to be loved and accepted and do not realize the differences the world teaches as we mature.
Working with single moms and foster parents has reminded me that almost all moms want the same things for their children. I was a single mom for a brief period of time--it is NOT easy-in fact it can be quite over-whelming. That does not take away the need for community. We can all sit together and talk about our children, the rewards and struggles of raising a family.
SO--I am encouraging you to step out of your bubble. There are many other venues beyond these two to seek those who are not your mirror image. Seek out those who are not "just like you". Learn from them and share your wisdom. Be brave and step out of the bubble, jump the fence, tear down the barrier, and expand your horizons. There is so much to gain and NOTHING to lose!