Become Friends With…

I am very grateful for the words on the graphic for this blog. They came from “One Fit Widow” from September 9, 2014. Thank you!

I have the good fortune to have good friends who are younger than I. Along with my own daughter, I love to hang out with them on the phone or face to face. We teach each other; we learn together; we share ideas and observations of our world. One of the things I know my younger friends and daughter teach me is how to be BRAVE and speak up for myself. When I grew up that was discouraged, yet, today these strong women teach me how I can stand up for myself with their lives and actions. What a gift.

One one day I heard the song “Brave” by Sara Bareilles, and I thought of these two friends and my daughter. I knew they were teaching me how to be brave in my own life. This is the video for “BRAVE”:

I also have had the good fortune to teach people from other countries as an English-as-a Second Language (ESL) teacher. I also “hung out” with them while I taught them because with ESL you have to learn to talk about yourself and your life and culture. We had lots of parties over my years of teaching. I came to care a lot about my students and their families, particularly at one of the jobs where I taught for nearly 2 years. My students were very generous to me when I was forced out of my job.

In my family my father married out of his “social class” and I did, too. In 1925 my own grandmother was a single parent to twin girls (my mother included). Life was hard for my struggling single parent grandmother.

So many factors contribute to class. Health problems, business mistakes, and things like divorce can change everything about which “class” we are in. Most Americans work hard, but wages are not fair for most people in this country. Education used to make a difference for people as to how much they could earn. However, today so many young people are stuck with high loan costs and often can only get low paying jobs. Hey, about 99% of us are in a similar situation, so it is time for us to speak to each other!

In the past, I had to get out of my comfort zone to relate to others who were not the same race, ethnicity, gender, age, or class. I was shy when I was young, but found out as an adult that I am actually an extrovert. I labeled myself and believe the label for a long time. Sometimes others labeled me, too. By questioning my “labels,” I found out how false they were. You too, might be doing the same thing to yourself and others. When I freed myself and learned to appreciate myself more, I began to fear others less, too. I am and my life is very different now. That is possible for you, as well.

When we relate and speak from the heart to each other no matter our gender, class, color, age, we learn how we are both different and similar. We learn from each other if we are willing to be open and listen. Our differences do not separate us from each other as much, and together we can work on so many of the problems that are plaguing our world today and get to grow as people, too.