Tuesday, March 18, 2008


Diversity: Some dance to the beat of a different drum
Nature never seems to be seeking perfection. Almost every common plant or animal that we see has at least a few flaws, weaknesses, or strengths that make it different from all others. Nature rarely ever repeats itself. Of all the beautiful sunrises or sunsets we have seen, no two of them have been exactly the same. And we've always been told that no two snowflakes are alike.
We humans, too, have our differences. Many of them. We differ in age, sex, and color of hair, eyes, and skin. We have a wide variety of heredity and backgrounds, and grew up in a multitude of different environments. We have absorbed varied amounts of education, both formal and informal. We have decided differences in temperament and in the subjects that interest us the most.
Looking at humanity as a whole, we suffer from an almost unimaginable number of different diseases, illnesses, allergies and assorted other ailments. We boast of any number of different religious sects and beliefs. On occasion, many of us are ready and willing to argue about world, national and local politics. We disagree on gun control, abortion, tax cuts, the national debt and capital punishment. Some get involved in saving the rain forests, the whales, and the baby seals, all the while keeping an eye out for global warming, while others could not care less. And, whether we are ready to admit it or not, a lot of us have picked up at least a few biases and prejudices along the way.
But, are we proud of this rich mix that makes up our human race? Not on your life. Most of us prefer to look at the world through rose-colored glasses, trying to see all persons as pretty much the same - as mannequins - all cut from the same cloth while using identical patterns. Or as having been cast in the same mold. Which we definitely have not. At times, a lot of our rules and laws seem to have been dreamed up or written to deliberately treat some people differently, in an effort to make us all become more alike.
We never seem quite content until all of the ducks are in a row. Or all of the sheep are in a flock, and following the same shepherd. Too often, an individual, one who marches to his (or her) own drummer, is labeled "different." He (or she) does not share in the most popular interests of the day, and doesn't fall for every new style, trend, or activity that comes along. So, therefore, it is only natural for some of the "sheep of the flock" to look down on that person.
I really admired many of the "Golden People" I met while in Hawaii. They seemed to know pretty well who they were, and were well satisfied with themselves and with their genetic makeup. In that great "Melting Pot," you could feel free to ask anyone about his (or her) ancestry. You might get an answer like, "Japanese, Austrian, Portuguese, Filipino." And then the person's citizenship, "Hawaiian, American," would be added. A special interest was shown in each and every ingredient in the mix. Everyone was an individual. And proud of it.


His nickname is "Simple Simon"
(Stolen from the nursery rhyme),
But he's really far from simple –
Seems real bright most of the time.

Simon's quite a quiet fellow,
Never gets pushy or loud,
Likes marching to his own drummer,
Not influenced by the crowd,

Neither follower nor leader
(Been that way since a small lad),
Prefers to do his own thinking,
Whether it's for good or bad,

He has a liking for people,
And no trouble making friends,
But needs no constant companions
From morning till the day ends.

Simple Simon keeps his focus
On important things of life.
Used both brain and heart in choosing
His friends, companions, and wife.

He has a good understanding
Of what this world's all about,
All its inconsistencies and
Ups and downs, inside and out.

Simon makes his own decisions.
Bravely, bold, and unashamed,
Like Sinatra, "does it his way."
Just he can be praised or blamed.

'Though at times he'd find it easy
To bend and blend with the flock,
He stands behind his convictions,
Firm and solid as a rock.

Like Simon, we might be wise to
Think life's serious problems through,
Finding our own answers as we
Think, "To thine own self be true!"