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Wednesday, February 9, 2011

George Washington Carver

"How far you go in life depends on your being tender with the young, compassionate with the aged, sympathetic with the striving, and tolerant of the weak and strong.  Because someday in life you will have been all of these."

— George Washington Carver
American Scientist
1864 - 1943

One of challenges we all face is accepting people who are different than ourselves.  And I am not talking here about race or culture or religon or nationality.  I'm talking about the little things that separate people.  Is there someone in your life who talks  too much or too little?  Are there people who you perceive to be stuck-up?  Do you dislikefat people or sloppy people?  Is there someone in your life who is too organized or too thin?  Do you think all poets are crazy and should get a real job?  Do you not like the way someone combs his hair or the clothes he wears?

As George Washington Carver points out, we are all human.  We have all been young and if we live long enough we will all grow old.  What people who complain about growing old don't realize is that the alternative is dying young.  Now the interesting idea in this quote is that we need to be tolerant of both the strong and the weak.  And it is easy to see being tolerant of the weak, but why the strong?  I think the reason we need to be tolerant of the strong is because they also make mistakes.  We have a tendency to put people on a pedestal and then knock them off.  We don't like it when our heroes are too perfect.  We prefer them to have clay feet so we can knock them down.

As writers, artists and actors, we sometimes put other actors, writers and artists on a pedestal and become disappointed when they don't live up to our expectations.  We need to become more accepting and tolerant of our peers, mentors and teachers.  We are all human and we all make mistakes.  The message is simple: judge not others.