The quote in the title of this post struck me as light and humorous, but simultaneously truthful, effective, and important. I clicked on the article containing this quote only because of the picture with it - a deep red heart made up of equality symbols - the same symbol that seems to have overtaken my Facebook news feed in the last two days.
The author of the article has many important things to say, about bullying in schools, about kids acting as mirrors of the adults around them, about parents and how they should react to the news that their child is gay, about Christians and how they interpret the Bible - but it all really boils down to this quote. This simple, beautiful quote.
"Traffic jams are to be tolerated. People are to be celebrated."
As a teacher, especially one at community colleges in both urban and suburban environments, I interact with a wide variety of people on a regular basis. My students and colleagues are comprised of nearly every ethnic and cultural background I can think of. They are a seemingly equal mixture of male and female, gay and straight. Some are wealthy. Some very poor. Most somewhere in between. They are young and old. Some have children. Not all are married. Some are brilliant, exceptional students. Others struggle and show a quieter promise. Some may never succeed academically, despite my best efforts to guide them. I enjoy working with most of my students. Some are challenging. They can be standoffish, or abrasive, or just reserved and difficult to read. I can't lie - when the semester ends, there are always a few students who I am relieved to say goodbye to. In 16 week increments, I learn about these people. You can only know so much about a person after 16 weeks, especially in a classroom environment. But I see enough to know that each person, even those I find most challenging as students, are complex, remarkable, wonderful people. They are representative of the whole of our culture. They are people to be celebrated. Every one.
BA in English