I spent my early life living on an army base where everybody knew everyone. I later moved to a community where again almost every thing and every one was familiar. This upbringing was both an asset and a liability. My life was being defined by surroundings of less than a 20 mile radius and this calculation would be generous. On the plus side, because people knew me, they cared a lot about my success and failure. When I was in public I always ran into someone I knew fairly intimately and this helped build my sense of security, safety, confidence and surrendering to the unknown. I grew up around people I knew and people who knew me. I had many safety nets.
On the negative side I judged the world and my potential in life from a fishbowl. If I had drawn my life on a canvas there would be very little bleeding on the edges. Nope I lived inside the lines and close to the inside of a small center circle. I took few detours especially when it came to even trying to expose myself to worldly ideas, people, cultures, ideologies. By the time I got to college nearly everyone of my friends looked just like me. This habit and comfort carried onto graduate school, even though I attended Harvard Business School where people came from around the world to attend. I made little to no effort to share my cultural views or learn from other's views beyond our experience in the classroom. In retrospect, what a regrettable loss.
So at least from a multicultural standpoint, I was sorely lacking in seeing the world beyond one dimension. I regret not trying harder sooner to change this outcome. I regret it because not having a broader view of people left me with some honed perceptions, prejudices of other cultures. I had not planned it but it happened.
I see that eyes wide shut all around me today. Those that for whatever reasons have painted themselves in a box. The older they get the less likely they are to see others' value outside their box.
When this happens we all lose. We inadvertently end up raising our children to not value one another's differences. Our children too will only view things through their own personal lens.
Living eyes wide shut does not make the world better it makes a world, communities, neighborhoods, schools, playgrounds, daycares, relationships more divided. I hope we can all do our part to change that. I am committed to doing my part especially when it comes to raising my children..
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