Monday, October 29, 2007

Fear of MRAS or Each Other!

Yesterday was one of the first crisp fall days in New York and so we headed to the Bronx Zoo's annual "BOO at the Zoo" event.

We had a blast-as we always do at the Zoo. Magic shows, story-telling, sing-a-longs, hay rides and trick-or-treating were just some of the activities.

As the day drew to a close, we wandered in to a tent where John Farrell was hosting a sing-a-long. Towards the end of his performance, he invited all the kids to come up to the front of the room and join hands-which they did. When he invited the adults in the audience to do the same thing-we couldn't/wouldn't/didn't join hands.

We kind of looked at the person who was sitting next to us and quickly turned away, putting our hands in our laps. There was no hand-holding on our end.

The kids, on the other hand, were having a ball-clasping the hand of the kid next to them without a second thought.

The difference was remarkable.

Now, the adults may have been fearful of germs-after all MRAS is making headlines. And it is scary stuff! Maybe we were uncomfortable with sharing ourselves with a stranger. But maybe we were somehow afraid of each other. This was a very mixed crowd-highly diverse as you would expect in a borough of New York City. Maybe we were afraid-not consciously-that someone elses ethnicity or race would rub off on us.

Whatever the reason, while kids joyfully and without hesitation grabbed anothers hand, the adults were uncomfortable and suspicious.

I wish that the kids' lack of bias would rub off on us so that we might truly be able to embrace others-without hesitation or judgement. But I do have faith in our kids ability to look past differences and thrive in a multi-cultural world-if we don't screw it up.

With respect,

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