My grocery trip today jogged my thinking as I observed two nearly identical sets of men doing their shopping. Both sets clearly from the same socio-economic group, their camouflage hats, overalls, and baseball caps begged for stereotyping. Their earthy scent suggested regular baths were not a high priority. [For the record, the camo boys in our photo are fans of regular baths.]
As many similarities as these men had, their differences blared more loudly. The first pair passed me as one of the men–most likely a brother by their resemblance and age–played silly games revealing developmental delays. The other brother played back and caught my eye with a slight grin as he realized I had caught on to his situation. Preschool knock-knock jokes could not have been more fun. They giggled together without concern for who watched on, evidence this happened often and that the younger completely trusted his caregiver.
I wish the second encounter had been so pleasing…
Falling in behind the second pair of camo-clad shoppers, I had barely noticed them until a lovely young woman emerged from a side aisle in front of them. As she turned the corner, both their heads and eyes followed with unsolicited ogling. Obviously a class act, she never let on whether she heard them or not. I turned two aisles before them and still heard the inappropriate comments and laughter. I suddenly felt the need for a shower.
Then it hit me…
We group people all wrong. Clothing and bank balances say very little of a person’s character and personality. Wealthy, well-dressed people get the reputation as snobs, thinking too highly of themselves, but some of the wealthiest people I know are the most down to earth and pleasant.
On the other hand, some of the poorest and least educated people I’ve known have been the most giving.
What if, instead of socio-economic categories, we grouped people by levels of kindness and generosity. What if the most gracious among our population lived and worked together. How would that motivate us? If we had to be nice to live in a nice neighborhood, would we live differently?
I don’t know about you, but I could live in neighborhood full of knock-knock jokes.
… and that’s the view from My Front Porch.