By Ralph Singh Contributing writer
Sun, May 20, 2012 | The Post-Standard
We live in a diverse and ever-changing world. Cultures and civilizations now, more than ever, are butting up against each other and we find ourselves increasingly in a tug-of-war between those who welcome this diversity and those who are threatened by it. Stories have the power to change the world.
Through sharing our stories we can understand that we have more in common than the differences that are constantly paraded before us. Stories are the easiest way to bridge the artificial divides. If I listen to and honor your personal story, it means I care about you, and I want to be in community with you. And if I listen to and honor your cultural story, be it rooted in a religious or ethnic tradition or even growing out of new understandings, together we can create a more just society.
All traditions teach us to love our neighbor, even when they seem different from ourselves. We can no longer have one single dominant narrative. That is a recipe for constant conflict. If I deny you your story, then I really don’t want to be in community with you. And, our children are made to feel that they don’t count. Unfortunately, this cuts both ways.
For those who truly want to teach and learn about the traditions of their neighbors, their stories are the easiest path – and most easily imparted to our children, congregations and friends. By sharing each others’ stories, we can take small steps on the path toward a more compassionate, inclusive, pluralistic, civil society.
–Ralph Singh, chairman of the Wisdom Thinkers Network, connects the world with stories in schools and community settings. While he draws from the world’s sacred and secular traditions, the stories are from his Sikh tradition.
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