I would like to remove all labels that human beings feel a need to put on each other. Let me share some examples: “Are you a liberal or conservative?” “Are you worth knowing or not worth knowing?” “Are you successful or a failure?” “Are you ordinary or extraordinary?” “Are you someone special or just another loser?” The list goes on and on…
I have seen the worst come out in people when it comes to religion, race and politics. Some feel that their viewpoints are the only ones worth listening to. I have seen family and friends get into bitter feuds because they were on opposite sides of the fence. I don’t apologize for my viewpoints nor will I shove them down someone’s throat. Please do not label me…I am not that, “crazy conservative” or “damn liberal”…I am just an American with a right to respectfully express my opinions.
I have been to social functions where someone will ask me, “What do you do for a living?” I will share that my husband and I own and operate a janitorial service. (One of several things we do.) Sometimes they will smile politely and move on. It is their loss because if they had taken the time to get to know us, they would have discovered an interesting couple with many decades of life and entrepreneurial experience. It is unfortunate that we label people as worth knowing or not worth knowing by their career choices.
We live in a country that labels a person successful if they have lots of money. If they lose it, that person immediately gets labeled a failure. We forget about everything else that person has done in their life and we toss them aside like yesterday’s news. We love stories about lottery winners especially if they are what we call “rags to riches” stories. We forget about the millions of successful people who live paycheck to paycheck and manage to take care of their families and meet all of their obligations.
I used to write a human interest column about people who our society labels as ordinary. They were cashiers, food servers, sales clerks, window washers, baggers…the list goes on and on! I found something very extraordinary about each one of them. They had a passion for life and shared it with others. I chose each of them to write about because even if it was a brief encounter, they touched my life in a positive way.
I used to be a teacher and I would meet kids who at a tender young age had already been labeled a loser. Many of these children fell between the cracks of the American educational system. I tuned out the teachers and administrators who chose to negatively label these students and instead chose to see each child as worthy of my time. I have never regretted my decision. One adult can make a positive difference in a child’s life.
How do you feel about the labels that society puts on each of us? Have you ever been labeled because of the way you look, the life you live, your viewpoints or for any other reason?