Putting Pants On The Same Way

RED HOT LIFE LESSON: Focus on the ways we are similar to one another, not how we differ.

I remember a man from a church I pastored years ago talking about his encounter with Jud Heathcoate, the Michigan State basketball coach. The two of them were on the same plane and the man said, “Hey there, Judd!” When I asked him if Jud responded, he said, “Sure! He puts his pants on the same way I do!”

That declaration that brought a chuckle to my inners then resonates even more with me in recent times. It seems to be easy, and even our nature, to focus on the ways we differ, rather than the ways we are similar. I see it every day I’m in the hallways and classrooms of our middle school. Students who might be short, chubby, not very coordinated, intelligent, talented, socially awkward, or anyone of a few hundred other boxes that might be checked on a list of differences, have students and teachers alike focus on their shortcomings and personality warts much more than their common traits and qualities.

In the first book of my Red Hot novel series, Red Hot: New Life in Fleming, I introduce two characters who are visibly different, one with thick eyeglass lenses, short hair, and short stature; and the other with bright red hair that makes him look like his head is on fire. In a small West Virginia town where no one would envision them becoming friends, they learn the value of having someone who notices how they are more alike than different.

There will always be those who feel the need to tell someone how weird, stupid, or unimportant he is. In middle schools it doesn’t take you long to figure out who the outcasts are, the kids who stay close to the walls as they down the hallway, trying to go unnoticed. Or the student who, when the teacher invites the class to work with one or two other students on the assignment, is the one who is never invited to join.

As I view the assortment of students conversing, socializing, or avoiding eye contact, I’m always impressed with the ones who seek out the marginalized and treat with respect, the ones who push the unusualness of a fellow student to the side and sees how clearly they are alike.

It’s like putting on pants. Everyone who wears pants puts them on the same way. The pants may have different designs on them, be bell bottoms, skinny jeans, or have a different designer label but…they’re all pants!

Focus on the ways we’re similar instead of trying to divide us because of our differences.

Explore posts in the same categories: Novels

Tags: , ,

You can comment below, or link to this permanent URL from your own site.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: