We’re a lot alike.

This post was written and first appeared on this blog in February 2010.

As a kid, I was often around people who were different from me.  I spent time with people who had entirely different economic situations from our family—in both directions.  Because of my parents’ work and values, holidays at our house always included an international student or two, or recent arrival from another country. Some spoke English, some did not. 

It was my normal, and I really didn’t think much about it at the time. Without even paying attention, I learned that when it comes to people–our fellow humans–it isn’t about comparing apples to oranges, pears to bananas. It is about the big, delicious bowl of fresh produce that makes up humanity.  We’re more the same than we are different. Regardless of language, culture or creed, we like to laugh, we get annoyed, we have silly little treasured possessions, favorite foods, favorite songs, and true loves. 

I had lunch with a friend recently. She is American, her husband is Haitian and they live here in the states. Haiti’s Port au Prince post-earthquake situation isn’t the media’s biggest concern lately, so one could easily start to think that things are getting better. I was curious, so I asked about his family. Yes, things are a little bit better. There is water; there is a way to wire money to his family so food can be purchased. 

Yet, since the earthquake, only one house, among many in a large extended family, remains standing. Now, 36 people are living in the back yard of that one house. For me, the situation went from photos on TV of strangers who speak another language to a vivid visualization of life for people who are a lot like me.  Yes, tents have been purchased so there is some shelter from the weather, but that’s it. Food, water and sanitation aside, can you imagine living with 35 of your relatives, in a small space, indefinitely? Never having a moment for yourself? No privacy for you and your spouse to talk about family concerns? No worries about getting your turn in the shower because there isn’t a shower?? 

Whether we give to the urgent needs of post-earthquake Haiti or another important project, when we give, we are giving to folks who are a lot like us.  We’re all more alike than different. And maybe, just maybe, that’s one reason why it feels good to give. 

Make a Difference Next time you notice someone who seems different, stop for a minute and identify something you have in common with that person.

Like what you are reading here? Please tell a friend about It Feels Good to Give, the official blog of CatchBlue.

August on It Feels Good To Give  This month, It Feels Good To Give will feature posts from earlier in the year that we’d like to share with you again.

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One Response to “We’re a lot alike.”

  1. Rebecca Combs Says:

    You’re so right about Haiti post-earthquake recovery begin slow! I work for CRWRC, a relief and development organization at work there and this is simply the reality our staff and volunteers are dealing with. Here is an article about why recovery is slow, published in The Banner:
    http://www.thebanner.org/magazine/article.cfm?article_id=2847

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