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Greetings everyone! It’s Joe Dwyer and we are off together on a mission to truly celebrate our differences.

At least I hope we are because I believe our society needs to do this more than anything else we do. So like everything else, it’s start with us. Where are we today with celebrating our differences – truly celebrating our differences and looking back and looking very carefully at what we do and how we do it when we look at others and how different they may be from us.

So I need to take you back to a fourth grade English assignment. Yes, it was fourth grade and I was somewhat horrified when I heard what I had to do. It was to create a fictional society, in a science fiction capacity. So I did the best I could with the creative juices I had and I came up with “Orangeland”. Yes, Orangeland it was!

orange sun-smallIn Orangeland, everybody looked the same, everybody acted the same and everybody lived the same amount of time. This was the best I could do in my creative way. Well, when I got the assignment back I was incredibly surprised to see that I had gotten a very good grade! If I’m not mistaken I believe it was an A! It was one of the few times that I took it home and looked at it and wondered how on Earth could I have gotten such a good grade.

This is the most boring place that there could ever be! Everybody looks the same, everybody acts the same! Now I know that you already know that if we were not to celebrate and acknowledge each others differences, where would we be in a society? We would be in a very boring place. Why then, do we have such issues, and we do, when we look at others? Their different opinions, the way they lead their lives? I really think it is something we need to take a closer look at.

So, as I typically do, I took a look at my actions one morning recently as I walked into the gym. I didn’t think about this until after the fact so I won’t give myself too much credit! But, when I walked in I saw the man behind the counter. I noticed that he was not wearing the same shirt as he was yesterday with the gym’s name and his name. He was wearing something different – that was a bit surprising.

Then I walked along further I saw a woman that I see every morning and she had her hair up this day. She never wears her hair up and finally I saw one of my best friends in the gym. He was sweating much more profusely than he typically does and it was quite obvious.

These were my observations as I relied on myself to take a closer look at the way people were looking and acting on this particular day. But what I didn’t realize was that once again I was making a mistake when it comes to truly acknowledging and appreciating other people for who there are. Immediately it was “why is he wearing that t-shirt, why is she wear her hair that way, why is he sweating so much today”. In a seemingly innocent way we can catch ourselves off guard and really get ourselves into a spiral for not accepting people for who and what they are in that particular day.

Do you see where I am going with this today?

I certainly hope so because it would have been that much easier for me to say, “Oh, there he is that man behind the counter, he is a certain religious background that I don’t care for.” Now I didn’t say that, but it could have been easily transformed into that from where I was in these simple observations and what I was thinking. My point is this – whether we realize it or not we are all on one side or the other on being prejudged or not being appreciated for differences in any given time in our life. It is a huge mistake and this is in fact the essence of what we are going to share in lesson number one on “truly celebrating our differences”.

Now we need to bring in our trusted canines. The four of them that live here with me don’t do anything like I just described. They wouldn’t even dream of it! You see as soon as they see somebody they are as genuinely happy to see them. There are no observations beyond what they see and what they want to see and what their cherished to observe and love and give. There is no picking apart of what they might look like. There is none of that that goes on within a dog’s view. Why can’t it be the same for us. It can! It really can if we give it that much more of a try and a discipline in our life. You see that is the key here, my friends, is that we need to discipline ourselves much better. It is very easy to go down that spiral where we don’t want to go.

Let me go back to that day in the gym. Let me recreate it. “Oh, there is the gentleman behind the counter. That is a really neat t-shirt he is wearing today. I really like that! There is that woman and she has her hair up today. That’s something different today! That’s something out of the ordinary to appreciate and take notice.”

It might help me later today when I need to be more observant of something else I need to be. “Oh, there’s my buddy and he is working out hard today and sweating a lot. That should be a motivating factor for me.” So how about when we notice something different, try tagging on something positive on the end. It’s really not that difficult to do, is it? That is what a dog does and if a dog can do it well, I say we can do it too!

So as we walk into actions items for this important week number one of “truly celebrating our differences”, I ask you to do just that.

I would like you to be more observant at looking at people and putting something positive on the end of an observation about that person. So it was – Oh gee, there is a person with shorter hair. That’s very nice. I’m sure they made a good decision in their life and they like it that much shorter. I guess you knew I was going to say that having hair as short as mine! I had to make at least one more illustration on this all-important first week of our point.

If you have any doubt at all, I ask you to step back to my fourth grade assignment and realize what a really difficult world it would be to live in if we were in that place that I called “Orangeland”. Because as I continue to recall, how did I really receive such a good grade? I’m not going to second guess it and bring it back!


On the other hand, I think it’s an eye opener for everyone of us. That we truly need to not only live in a world that has differences that go beyond what I pointed out, but we need to appreciate it as well. For it is the core of who we are and what we can be. It also takes us to a higher level of compassion and living in a very cohesive world that all of us long to see. I know that’s true and you know it’s true too.

So let’s us take this action item into real life this coming week. Let us take a close look at each person and tag on something positive on everything we notice about them. Some of them may be a challenge! But if it is, once again, think of Orangeland! Seriously on a more important note think of how your dog would act! That will set us in a real positive direction.

Thank you I hope you enjoyed week one. I certainly did and there is definitely more to come in this very important subject matter. Enjoy the week!



  • When observing people during the week, find something positive about them!
  • Allow yourself to accept people’s differences.