Sunday, May 31, 2015

"Different" is Okay

In my last post, I discussed the question of "what is a global citizen." Now that I've answered that question (see my previous blog!), I have to ask "how can I be a global citizen."

I think one of the main things I learned about global citizenry when I was in London is that people think differently. They act differently. We as humans tend to shy away from anything that is different. Kids watch superhero movies as kids and see "good vs. evil." Of course, we think we are the "good guys," so everybody who thinks differently is the bad guys. It doesn't work like that. Throughout my blogs, I tried to convey the idea that London and the United States are "different yet the same." We have a lot of the same issues. Both the UK and the US deal with issues like homosexual rights, the death penalty, terrorism, and bad economies. The difference is how we deal with these issues.

I'd like to let you all in on a little secret. Even though "different" is scary, it's not bad! Differences are how we learn. Wars have been started over people groups thinking differently about a subject. We avoid things that are "different" because it can lead to confrontation.

I would say that being a global citizen is about embracing differences. Instead of shying away from a new way of doing something, let's give it a try! I know that the US has a lot to learn from the UK and vice versa. We just have to get over our pride and embrace a different way of thinking. If everybody took the chance to do something different, it might give us the chance to learn. We may fail. Even if we fail, at least we gave something else a try. Trying the same stuff over and over again isn't going to work. No matter how many time you try to turn on a lightbulb, it isn't going to turn on if the lightbulb is broken or the power is turned off. So you go change the lightbulb instead of trying the switch one more time, just to make sure the light is still broken.

After going to a foreign country and seeing the differences between our two ways of life, I've realized that embracing different ways of doing things is okay. I noticed that while we were in London, everywhere had hand dryers. Why? It's better for the environment to use air to dry our hands than to dry with paper towels. London also had bidets. In case you don't know what that is, it's basically an alternative to toilet paper. At first, the idea freaked me out! I can honestly say I never used one, but I can see what they're trying to do. Using water instead of toilet paper is also better for the environment. Just in the bathrooms, London was trying to cut down on paper waste. I think this is a great example of thinking globally, acting locally. London was doing it's part in trying to make the world a better place to live.

I know this is a long spiel, but it really does have a point. I asked at the beginning of this series of blogs if I was a global citizen. At the beginning of the trip, I wasn't. I didn't think about how my actions could impact other parts of the world. I didn't like to accept different ideas. Now I can say that my experience has turned me into a global citizen. I realize that people in different parts of the world are going to act differently. It doesn't make them bad, or wrong, It just makes them different. Sometimes different gets us "unstuck" from making the same mistakes. I also realize that what happens in America impacts places like London.

I think that after this trip, I will be fairly conscientious of how I act. I will admit that there's no way I'm going to go out and buy a bidet. However, I have a better understanding of why bidets are even a thing. My experience in London was amazing and I will never forget it. 
This is a picture of our group at Warwick Castle. CSC made a little splash in England!

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