Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Freedom to Learn

One pant leg pulled up to reveal an orange sock matching the bright orange jacket. Bermuda shorts on legs so tan that they looked like teriyaki basted chicken legs. Hair hanging below the shoulders on a man and hair spiked on a woman. A rock concert? No, theatre awards in Portland.

Last spring comments were aimed and fired in hopes of swaying my granddaughter away from going to the theatre arts school:

Those kids have blue hair.
Those kids are really strange.
They don't have sports or cheerleading.

Oh, yes, the comments were made. It was a lesson in prejudice. Kids became more judgmental listening to their parents judge others. Kids in turn made snide comments. We are the teachers.

I didn't like these parents who were not shy in expressing their prejudices to their children. Religious wars, women struggling to escape the burka, gay men and women seeking a normal life without threat, children struggling to be different in a society that seems to want them all to be the same. I don't like it.

The kids at Sydney's school are a normal as they can be....and as different. All kids seek to find themselves in all of the schools. We all seek our own place. We all seek to be who we are facing those obstacles that are in opposition. I envy the kids who have the self confidence to be themselves despite opposition.

I sat in the audience last night cheering the winners who sat in the seats supporting the arts. Each and every one of them has met with resistance. Each has been told that they can't make a living in the arts. Each has pursued what voice has spoken to them their entire lives. They are free to be who they truly are in a community that applauds differences.

It would be great if we lived in a world of acceptance and cooperation. It be great if we listened and observed instead of judged. The world around us is a lesson.....it would be great if everyone had the freedom to learn.

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