I recently had a deep conversation with a very articulate young man about the color pink. He claimed it was a “girl’s color” and that he would never be caught wearing it. As a female that really doesn’t care for the color pink, I had to question him further. Was he aware that colors really don’t have a gender? That perpetuating a stereotype only kept others from expressing how they feel about colors.
He listened intently. We discussed his opinion and mine. He called me a “liberal” and I just laughed and told him he needed to know me better. He and I continued to talk for almost an hour. It was truly enlightening to hear his reasons. I left that conversation feeling like our future actually had a chance.
We talked about empathy, being able to walk in someone else’s shoes for a bit. We talked about the scientific theories he feels are being pushed as fact. We talked about how his view of the world right now only consists of what others have told him, and that one day he will venture out to learn about the world himself. I encouraged him to always be willing to listen. Listening doesn’t mean you have to change your mind. Empathy doesn’t mean losing your own identity.
At the end of the conversation, we both walked away with enlightenment. It was truly the best lesson for both of us all week.