In an increasingly diverse and interconnected world, it’s essential to recognize the value of inclusivity and acceptance of differences. Our differences should be celebrated, not tolerated. Learning from people of different backgrounds and cultures can broaden our perspectives and deepen our understanding of the world. More importantly, to love others is to love God; to accept others is to accept His diverse creation.
Why It’s Important to Be Friends with All Types of People
Last week my friend from the Czech Republic was in town. My kids and I went to lunch with her and visited an alligator farm. (Yes, there is such a thing.) Zuzana told my children there weren’t alligators in her country. She shared other things that were different, and the kids were amazed. We went to get frozen yogurt, and she taught my kids some words in Czech.
Ultimately, my children discovered that although Zuzana lived far away, we enjoyed similar things.
A few weeks before that, another friend and her daughter, who has autism, came to visit. Rachel is much older than my young kids, but they played together well. Even though Rachel can say very few words, one of my daughters started a game of hide-and-go-seek. Soon all four children were laughing and playing. My kids hated to see their new friend leave, and Rachel’s mom was so thankful they were welcoming. My kids can’t wait to have her over again!
It’s easy to gravitate toward people who are like us. Yet when we do this, we miss out on so much. Here are five reasons our children need to be taught to be friends with all types of people:
- We can all learn something from people from different communities and backgrounds. There are no right or wrong cultures—there are just different ones. Children learn to appreciate others by being around them. Learning from people from different backgrounds and communities can broaden our understanding of the world, enrich our perspectives, and help us develop empathy and respect for others. Recognizing that there is no hierarchy of cultures is crucial, and diversity should be celebrated and embraced.
- When we meet people ethnically, economically, and physically different from us, we discover how similar we are. Laughter is something we all enjoy. Love crosses boundary lines. Children, in particular, can benefit significantly from exposure to diverse communities. It helps them develop a sense of curiosity, appreciation, and understanding of other’s beliefs, customs, and traditions. Children learn that people may look, sound, or think differently, but ultimately, we all share everyday human experiences and emotions.
- Our world is becoming a global community. When our children are adults, they will work and communicate with people worldwide. As the world becomes more interconnected, our ability to communicate and work with people from different cultures and backgrounds becomes increasingly essential. By fostering an appreciation for diversity in our children, we prepare our children to thrive in a global community.
- Heaven is a place for all tongues, all nations. In heaven, there will be people from throughout history, worldwide, and from all countries. In heaven, there will be more people who are different from us than similar. How amazing is that?! The idea that heaven is a place for all tongues and nations emphasizes the importance of inclusivity and acceptance of differences. When we love and accept others, we demonstrate the values of compassion and kindness, which are essential to God’s kingdom.
When we love people different from us, we give others a glimpse of God’s love. When we love others with the love of God, others will take notice. They’ll see the difference and wonder about the God we serve. Ultimately, when we love others with the love of God, we reflect His character and values to the world. Our actions can be powerful witnesses to those around us, inspiring curiosity and interest in knowing more about our faith.
Start today by considering how to help your children have more diverse friendships. Everyone will benefit!
- Diversity should be celebrated, not tolerated.
- Our differences make us unique, but our similarities make us human.
- Love knows no boundaries or borders.
- The world is our classroom, and diversity is our teacher.
- Our differences are our strengths, not our weaknesses.
- To love others is to love God; to accept others is to accept His diverse creation.
- Our diversity reflects God’s creativity and love for all His creation.
- The power of God’s love transcends language, culture, and borders.
Heavenly Father, thank you for the diverse and colorful world you’ve created. Remind us to daily celebrate that beauty and seek to connect with others from different backgrounds. Thank you so much for the gift of community and giving us a glimpse of what Heaven will be like one day!
I have a question to ask. So, how is your friend’s situation? If you’re like many women you might feel as if you know a lot of people, but you have very few close friends—you know the kind where you can show up without makeup or your hairbrush and know you won’t be judged. Maybe you’ve asked yourself, Am I the only one who’s lonely? Am I the only one without friends?
If you’ve ever asked yourself these questions, Amy Weatherly and Jess Johnston, founders of the widely popular “Sister, I Am with You,” are raising their hands to say, “Yeah, us too.” In this podcast, we’re going to talk about what it takes to find a friend and be a friend. Hopefully, you’ll be encouraged, equipped, and reassured as you discover what it takes to build the kind of friendships you want.
It’s time you felt completely accepted as you are—from the top of your messy bun to the tips of your unpedicured toes. Let’s start making friendships a priority—together. And let’s do that by enjoying this podcast!