Commentary by Carla Howie
For as long as I can remember, I have been a collector of quotes, poems, passages from books I’ve read and clever expressions people use to describe things. I have notebooks full of them. I love words and how people use them to inspire, provoke, challenge and amaze.
One of my favorite quotes comes from Theodore Roosevelt when he said, “Wide differences of opinion in matters of religious, political and social belief must exist if conscience and intellect alike are not to be stunted, if there is to be room for healthy growth.”
I am finally at the juncture in my life where I can honestly say I respect all opinions – especially those different than mine. It was not an easy transition, but a necessary one. I may not agree with another’s opinion or even believe it to be true, but that is the beauty of thought diversity – I don’t have to. I acknowledge that it is different than mine and make a conscious choice to respect it, however presented. I understand now that by doing so, I’ve opened up my life to endless possibilities. Others’ opinions may provoke me, inspire, enrage or engage me – either way, they make me think. It makes me wonder what the story is behind the opinion, but it is not mine to judge or condone. If each snowflake that has fallen since the beginning of time is different than the other, how do we point out the snowflake that is less worthy, less suitable to have fallen?