He ain’t wrong, he’s just different

What if I could actually find room in the universe to allow others to be who they are, believe what they believe and do what they do, without being judgmental and dismissive? You know – tolerant.

One would think that a person who could contemplate such a question could actually accomplish the answer, wouldn’t one? Alas, as I’ve often lamented, the problem with humanity is the humans.

Being terribly flawed is one of the two immutable truths we humans know about ourselves. The other is that we can learn and, therefore, change. And therein lay the two horns of perhaps the most fundamental human dilemma: how to pursue our own beliefs and desires with the passion that is uniquely human, while learning how to simultaneously grant the same opportunity to others.

Lyrics from two songs come to mind which capture the essence of these horns. Horn 1: Mac Davis sang, “Oh, Lord, it’s hard to be humble, when you’re perfect in every way.” Horn 2: Willie Nelson and Waylon Jennings sang, “He ain’t wrong, he’s just different …”

Here’s an exercise to consider: What if, while celebrating the obvious truth of Davis’ lyric, I always remembered to recite – out loud – the Nelson/Jennings’ lyric.

This week, at least for a half hour, I conducted this exercise. On Christmas day, while broadcasting my live small business radio program, I invited one of my Jewish friends, Andrew Sherman, to join me. We had a great time observing Hanukkah, celebrating Christmas, and in the process, advanced the notion that I’ve been proposing here.

Andrew and I celebrated what we have in common and the power of tolerance, plus how to maintain balance in our lives. We offer this record of our time together to you here. Hope you enjoy it. And of course, we look forward to your comments.

One Response to “He ain’t wrong, he’s just different”

  1. 1
    Yvonne Gopher Says:

    Tolerant is such an ambivalent word. Having grown up in apartheid South Africa, and now living in post-apartheid South Africa as a proud member of the Rainbow Nation I like to think that I’ve learned a bit about tolerance. We as a nation has been urged to embrace tolerance of all races, religions, creeds and cultures on all levels possible. We like to think that our nation can serve as an inspiration to the rest of the world.

    This still doesn’t mean that you’re going to keep your cool in traffic because you’re intolerant of somebody whose vehicle is inferior (or superior), has slower reflexes than you or any other reason whatsoever…now where does this leave our tolerance? Fortunately as you state, we can learn and change. So the trick would be to evaluate each situation that tests your tolerance levels, and learn and grow more tolerant from the experience.

    It makes sense, doesn’t it?

    Love your blog!


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