"My message is the practice of compassion, love and kindness. Compassion can be put into practice if one recognizes the fact that every human being is a member of humanity and the human family regardless of differences in religion, culture, color and creed." ~Dalai Lama

It takes us years and years to accumulate enough understanding and confidence about ourselves and this wonderful thing called life. The very best thing though is that even our concepts, traditions, and ideas have to change, because we frequently made those decisions about life when we were very young.

I often ask myself "How old were you when you decided that?" when I'm in the middle of some conundrum that I'm trying to solve. Why do some countries drive on the left and some on the right? Is there only ONE right way? Is there only ONE right way about anything? Did my small child perceptions form a concept that needs updating now that I'm more mature?

We are all alike. One of the ideas that we mature in ourselves is the concept that "I'm different" when the truth is that we are all alike. Each of us sees the same moon when we go to bed. Each of us breathes the same air. Each of us has a mentality to use as a tool to think ourselves out of the problems we thought ourselves into!

We all have parents who "don't get it", who remain locked into the past, who favor things we wouldn't touch with a ten foot pole. We all have siblings who are more talented or less talented than we are. We all have people we know who are hypocritical, or who are excessively generous. We each get to learn all about the available character traits by watching those in our experience, or in our school classes, or at our church, or on television.

We each live in some place geographically. We learned all about our local geography and then we learned that there's so much more to learn about, to explore, to enjoy outside our own place. As members of the human family, we have all these things in common.

Mothers everywhere tuck their children into bed at night. Fathers everywhere go to work to earn money to support their families. Teenagers everywhere rebel against their parents. And babies have sweet little faces no matter where they live; no matter what their nationality is; no matter what clothing they are wearing. Each of us has been hurt, has laughed, has cried, has worried, has belonged to some political party, has fallen in love.

I've often thought that if we were all lined up without our skin, what would remain would all be the same, and it's this sameness, this commonality, that makes us all brothers and sisters, one big human family. If we could keep these things we share in common in mind instead of the ways that make us different, we'd have a warmer, more loving way of treating one another. We'd experience less loneliness because we are all family, everywhere.

"Walk toward the roar" is an admonition that can be applied to this situation. If you are facing someone who looks differently than you do, step toward him or her. See what you can discover to help you understand where he comes from, who he is, what he thinks. You are capable of understanding all people if you step up to them and listen. This will open wide your acceptance of all those outside your own circumstances, from the other side of the world. You will begin to see that "family" is how we need to treat all peoples.

"The family is the school of duties - founded on love" ~ Felix Adler

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