Column: Embracing others’ differences

Staff reporter Jordan Toomey shares her thoughts about creating an atmosphere of acceptance


Stu Mair

According to staff reporter Jordan Toomey, parents are not allowing their children to think for themselves and adults are closing off the minds of the youth.

Jordan Toomey, Staff Reporter

Let me tell you something profound – sometimes people’s opinions are different than yours. Sometimes people’s lifestyles are different than yours. Sometimes people who were raised by you have different ideas than you do. And it’s time for everyone to be OK with that.

This column stems from my recent experience with conservative parents and the kids that they raised who turned out to be not-so-conservative. Most people should be able to accept that yes, their child is a separate entity from them, and as such, will have their own thought process and come to different conclusions.

However, it has unfortunately come to my attention that some adults are genuinely shocked by their children’s thoughts being different from their own. If broken down into simple anatomy, a child is no longer connected to its mother when it emerges from the womb and the umbilical cord is snipped. This child, a combination of its mother and its father, is now a new person, completely unconnected to its parents by anything other than DNA. I suppose this whole thing could come down to nature vs. nurture, but either way you spin it (as my lovely AP psych t-shirt points out), it’s your parents’ fault.

Why is it so shocking to some parents that their kids do not necessarily believe in the same things as them? I feel very fortunate to have grown up in a home that allowed me to form my own opinions and has never tried to force me to change them (well, mostly). I know that not everyone has the luxury of their parents accepting their beliefs or way of life. Some people, for example, come out as gay to their parents and receive acceptance and love. Others receive anger and are rejected, with the parents wondering how their child could have turned out this way with their upbringing.

I cannot stress this enough – YOU made that child. YOU created an individual with feelings and thoughts and differences from you, and if you are not ready to embrace those differences, then DO NOT HAVE CHILDREN.

Otherwise, your lack of acceptance and judgement and the changes you try to inflict upon the biological way they are or the conclusions they have come to may cause permanent damage. Allow yourself and your children (or your friends and/or siblings) to have other thoughts and be who they are without being judgemental or trying to change them.

However, I must address the opposite to this problem: kids who literally only believe their parents views. If you’re someone whose beliefs are very similar to a parent or a friend, that’s totally fine, as long as you aren’t just regurgitating what they tell you. If you have really, truly thought about the things your parents have told you and you find you agree with them, then that’s totally acceptable.

If, however, you are one of the many kids wandering the halls of this school who are ridiculously brainwashed by an adult’s opinion, you need to take a step back and realize what I’ve already said: you are an individual who is perfectly capable of thinking for themselves.

We are a generation with the world at our fingertips. Utilize this. Find out what YOU, not your parents, believe. Some of y’all need to get #woke, because you don’t want to go through life just repeating the same things you were told when you were twelve simply because that’s all you know.

The world is yours to discover, and life is too short to go through while just using other people’s opinions. Even if you agree, once you know why you agree, it becomes your opinion.

Bottom line, let your kids/friends/siblings have their own opinions and don’t hate them for it and kids, make sure your opinions don’t only exist because that’s what someone close to you believes.

It’s time for everyone to get #woke and start accepting everyone’s differences before you do some irreversible damage.