This summer Vandin asked us to take him to New York City. This kid does some traveling. He flew on a plane with Barbara and I when he was only six weeks old to attend a conference with us and has been traveling ever since. I love to travel myself and appreciate the value it brings to my life. He can gain a wealth of knowledge and understanding as he travels.
One of the most visited places in New York City is Times Square. It is one of the places where almost all tourists want to see when they visit. It is full of lights, people, shops, restaurants, vendors, food trucks and characters hoping for a few bucks if you will take a photo with them. There is everything from the Disney Store to the Gentleman’s Club, McDonald’s to Gallagher’s. It is humanity on display in almost every imaginable fashion.
When you look at those crowds, the average person sees one of two things: perversity or diversity. It usually depends on the lens with which you view life, but it is also a good marker of how we approach people in general. The difference at Times Square is that we get to see such a broad group of people at once with so many different interests and lifestyles that we make that single judgment of everyone based on how we view the world.
I am not sure if seeing one or the other is more right. When we see groups of people and we see perversity, we often attach bad choices or behaviors to people and never give them a chance. We only see bad with no hope of redemption. It can also lead to self righteousness as we view ourselves as better than others. When we only see diversity, the challenge is that we only see freedom to be different but see no need to change. Diversity should never be used as an excuse to overlook or condone wrong behaviors and choices.
Frankly, I think diversity and perversity is best determined in the context of relationship, not in mass settings. We are better able to understand perversity and appreciate diversity in close relationships instead of labeling groups of people for whom we have no context. If you don’t want to pile in the mass chaos of a place like Times Square, I certainly understand. However, try to stay away from the labels. Diversity in your relationships can be good. If you have enough diversity there will surely be some perversity and that will be the place it should be addressed. Just understand that it may also be addressed in your own life.
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