Karla's Kolumn: Look for the individual
July 2, 2020
Wyoming National Guard Captain Eli Varney and his unit were deployed to Kosovo last year to patrol an administrative boundary but the unit wanted to do more.
They found ways to engage with the people so that the Kosovo residents did not just see them as soldiers but instead they saw them as individuals, as people.
I heard him tell this story last winter when schools were collecting supplies for Kosovo students. I heard it again on Monday when he was presenting thank-you plaques to our local principals. He said they had the same philosophy in working with other military forces.
By working side-by-side people, you get to know them as individuals, you see past the uniform, past the country and into the heart of the person.
As I left Worland Middle School Monday morning I was struck by this thought - with all the unrest in our country due to (pick your topic) wouldn't it be wonderful if we saw people as individuals instead of putting them in a class or a group of people.
We all have faults, we all have our own struggles. We all have our own individual triumphs. Those are faults, struggles and triumphs that most people never know because people tend to lump others into a category – whether it is based on your race, your gender, your profession, your age, your schooling, your religion, (again pick a category).
What if we just stopped and instead of yelling at someone we don't even know based on our preconceived notions and our putting them in a "group" we got to know that person as an individual, that we truly listened to that person, understood what it is that makes them think the way they do, or act the way they do? What if we looked beyond the definition of the group and into the hearts of the individuals and got to know them one-on-one?
Sure, there may be some people you won't get along with, that you still may not like, but it would be based on something more than because you lumped them into some group without ever knowing if they even belong to that group.
This would take time and effort to get to know people, to work with people, to learn to love people.
Sometimes it is easier to sit on the sidelines and complain and throw barbs at one another.
What if you took time to find out why your neighbor is so adamant that people wear a mask or why they are adamant about not wearing one? Rather than argue over who is right or wrong you would learn to respect your neighbor's opinion because you have gotten to know your neighbor. It does not mean you will begin to agree with your neighbor but it means you can sympathize with them and you can see things from their viewpoint.
By getting to know your neighbor, perhaps you can learn to love your neighbor as a member of your family in the human race.
This weekend you may be interacting with more people than you have for a while if you join in some celebrations for the Fourth of July.
Remember to treat one another with kindness and love. Take the time to get to know people. Learn to see one another as individuals. Don't look at people and see liberal or conservative, Republican or Democrat, Baptist or Methodist, mask wearer or non-mask wearer.
Rather get to know Bob, John, Jane, Mary Anne, Joy ... and have a safe and joyous Independence Day.
Stay healthy my friends.