I spoke at a unity church last sunday. About how important. It is for us to balance introspection without prospection as a kid. I spent hours alone in my room reading drawing and building model airplanes. If i misbehaved at school. My parents couldn't punish me by yelling. Go to your room because my room is exactly where i always wanted to be instead. They literally locked me out of the house and said go play outside like a normal kid makes them friends. And while i'm not condoning this parenting method in hindsight. It probably did me some good mind you. This was years before we had terms for introverts extroverts. Kids on the spectrum and so on children were either considered to be well adjusted. Meaning that followed the one-size-fits-all set of behavior rules and guidelines to fit in or they were considered misbehaving troublemakers. Outcasts the only place. I actually sit in was an after school programs to learn pascal software and robotics. Which is where i made a couple of friends who otherwise also pretty much kept to themselves although alone time is healthy. So were the hours. I was forced to socialize with others whether locked outside the house. So i can play with the neighborhood kids or tori school field trips and camping adventures much to my resistance. At the time just as i was entering teenage years my family moved from small town in the northern most part of israel where grew up to california the high school i attended in san francisco not only had more students in it than my old town had residents but i was suddenly surrounded by asians blacks latinos and maybe a handful of other caucasians. It was a culture shock. In fact i probably would have gone into actual shock or drawn inward even more had. I not been encouraged to socialize in my earlier years. I'm not saying. I was well adjusted. I'm still not but i managed to quickly learn. English makes him friends and stay curious about everyone's culture religion and ethnic background. I asked so many questions because nothing. No one resembled anything to which i had previously been exposed. I joined what was called. Sf net a network of computers and coffee shops around san francisco with coin operated dialup modems. Long before computers had windows or mice just a black screen and a keyboard essentially offering a chatroom of sorts for up to thirty people at time either dialing in from their homes or from other coffee shops in the netters we called ourselves had net gets like bonfires on the beach or meetups at bars on ashbury back when nobody checked your id tecate in through sf net. I met people from all walks of life college kids adults and even befriended kids my own age. Who were homeless by choice. Living on the streets and sleeping and golden gate park as a result of all this exposure to such a variety of individuals. I didn't have the same knee jerk judgment that my parents had about other races religions homeless people and so on i truly believe visibility leads to acceptance the first time i saw someone with blue hair and facial piercings. I was blown away but the nineties had more than its fair share rebels and mohawks so nothing shocked me after a couple of weeks. Think about what it must have been like the first time someone saw an interracial or same sex couple holding hands walking down the street a few decades ago the first time may have been shock but it were off the more people were exposed to it until as just another happy couple granted in some areas and for some people that still a shock but to others. It's no big deal and that's because visibility is what leads to acceptance exposure opens our eyes first minds. Second an hartford. The key to empathy and compassion therefore is connection not just seeing punk rockers on mtv but having coffee with them on a thursday night. I guess i was forced to grow up in much the same way. I was forced out of the house. When i was younger. Residents of major metropolitan cities are exposed to different cultures beliefs and backgrounds on a daily basis. So they tend to be more open minded than people who never leave their rural areas. Where anyone who doesn't fit in is considered a freak that absence of exposure and connection leads to judgement and segregation. But we can expect the so called freaks to intentionally move to rural areas in order to open people's eyes minds and hearts. It's up to each one of us regardless of where we live to stop thinking of anyone as other and get curious instead of judgmental in a way only out rejection makes introspection possible. If that makes sense how would we know being judgmental if our rigid boundaries are being challenged. We can't heal what we refused to confront the logic of not criticizing what we haven't even made the effort to understand because once we understand. There's nothing left to criticize implies by definition that if there's anything about which i'm still being judgmental the problem is me. It means i have more work to do. It's not somebody else's job to explain themselves to me. It's up to me to do the work to look outside myself to understand the bigger picture where there's room for everybody

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