I forget some times…

The other day I told a friend about the day as a kid that I realized, for the first time, that not everyone was a Christian. It kind of blew my mind. I say kind of, but really it really exploded my mind. It was as if before life was the tiny circle that revolved around me. Then, all of the sudden there was a vast and strange world that had absolutely nothing to do with me. It was weird and wonderful all at the same time.

Thing is, I’ve been realizing that I have these realizations all the time. It’s very easy to get wrapped up in a world entirely of your own making. You implant ideas and worldviews and your own perception of how things should be on people all the time. I particularly have this problem when it comes to communication. I assume people follow my internal train of thought. Obviously, they can go from our conversations about potatoes to me suddenly talking about dinosaurs. [For those of you dying to know at home potatoes remind me of How to Train Your Dragon (the books) and Dragon reminds me of dinosaur – easy, right?]

Over the past couple of months I’ve been thinking a lot about things that irritate me.  And, a lot of them actually come from how I was raised. I was raised with a certain set of implied rules. It’s implied behaviors for how we act in public, how we behave towards other people, how we show love, and how we celebrate holidays. To me, these things are childishly simple. Everyone should know that after a meal you offer to help pitch in and clean up. Simple. Yet, I have to remember that not every had these ideas drilled into them. I have to remember that had them drilled into me to make them simple.

My Aunt Becky T. used to drive me crazy with saying “please,” and “thank you.” Every time I should have said it, she’d say it for me. My mom would give me a plate for lunch. “Oh thank you, Mom,” Aunt Becky would chime. It was never mean or angry, it was training.

When my nieces were here for the holidays I found myself doing the same thing to them, automatically. I didn’t even take a breath. I was trained. And trained well.

I remember talking to one of our foreign studies students at college about these trained social behaviors. She had a hard time understanding the very weird American culture of saying, “oh, no, thank you” to offers of food when you’re at someone’s house.  To her, if someone offers food they meant to share it and it’d be rude to refuse.

It’s all in training.

I forget that people haven’t had the same experiences as I have. I forget that people haven’t traveled, or taken public transportation, or (one of the latest ones) refused to date awful men. I forget that there’s people who don’t spend time on the internet (shocking!) or who don’t understand who One Direction are (well, I don’t blame them for not wanting to know, just kidding 1D fans – love you all).

All these things remind me that the world is a diverse and amazing place. And, as with all things, I need to give a lot more grace.

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