This weekend I had an opportunity to visit a couple who have very different backgrounds than I do. It was a quick weekend visit.
The husband’s story was that he was raised in a small town. He has worked on a farm, rode bulls, loves to fish and hunt, can build a house and repair physical structures. Loves animals, played sports in high school and helped his father and grandmother growing up.
I learned a lot from him during our visit about things that I have never thought about nor been exposed to. He was younger than I was. He had been through a lot and yet he continued to show an active curiosity and an understanding of the value of work every day.
Flying home, I thought about how different his world was from mine growing up. His perspectives were different, and his understanding of issues and interests were so different as well.
What I realized is that what was around you while your were growing up matters. The difficult part is realizing that what you were around while growing up can limit you as well as give you some advantages. The famous phrase “carrying baggage from the past” is true. It comes from what was around you while growing up.
The hard part is that it is not until you meet people who are different with different experiences and upbringing can you begin to compare and contrast with your life. Not that one is better than the other. It’s an exercise that helps crystallize in your mind what your childhood was really like. Then you are better able to more clearly separate helpful things from the past while letting other things go.
This is another example of the value of placing yourself in diverse settings. It’s a great way both to learn and make us think about ourselves while in the midst of our long journey.