I'm part of an amazing leadership class that combines agricultural leaders with urban leaders. As we introduced ourselves, I met several kindred spirits...and Sheree.
When I heard Sheree's introduction, I was certain we wouldn't be friends. In fact, I was pretty sure we were enemies.
Whenever I meet someone new, I automatically start looking for what have in common. But I didn't have anything in common with her.
Sheree is a raw vegan chef. I'm a livestock farm wife at who eats a lot of turkey (and bacon.)
She has no kids. My kids took up most of my introduction.
Our backgrounds, childhood and education were completely different.
Turns out, she wasn't nearly as closed minded as I was. She was able to find something we had in common: passion and dedication to something that is special to us. Yes, our "specialties" are sort of contradictory. But Sheree's open-mindedness has led me to be more open-minded as well.
Sheree's okay with my food choices, and I'm learning to be okay with hers. I have tried a few of her recipes and watched her tv show (Fork in the Road.) And she's patiently listened to me talk about how much I love my farm and sharing my story of agriculture.
Somehow, despite our differences, we have become friends...friends who respect each other's views and even help support each other's goals.
So, the moral of the story is this: have an open mind. Don't judge a book by its cover. Look for the best in people and celebrate that.
And then, maybe, we can all be friends.