The value of open-mindedness in a diverse world

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Open-mindedness is about listening, learning, and trying new things without having made up our minds that it is good or bad ahead of time. We use our mind to come to a conclusion. I imagine every parent has gone through the experience of a child refusing to eat food they have not tried. They decided ahead of time that they would not like it. Their refusal was based on a fear that it would not taste good.

All of us have been skeptical to try a new activity because we were “sure” we would not be successful, we would get hurt or afraid of being embarrassed.  However, when we practice open-mindedness we open ourselves to new experiences that may prove to be of interest or even enjoyable. Having unbiased new experiences increases our understanding and may broaden our preferences.

In the diverse world we live in, being open-minded to the traditions and cultures of others is an important way of creating peaceful relationships. We may begin by learning about and trying different foods or celebrations of friends and neighbors. The goal is tolerance, acceptance, respect and appreciation for our differences.

While children are naturally more open-minded it is our job as adults to set the example and not allow our biases to thwart our willingness to listen, learn and try new things. As a parent, we must be open-minded to the differences that our children bring to us. They have their natural ways that are unique to them. When we are open to learning about those differences we are providing them the dignity they deserve and we can see areas that they can work on to balance their natural and strong gifts.

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