Ever wondered what it would be like to walk a mile in someone else’s shoes? When I was a child, I enjoyed trying to walk in my father’s worn, leather work boots. Even with tightening the long, leather laces, it took great effort to keep my toes curled and at the same time, lift those heavy boots and walk. Sometimes I fell on my face and sometimes I fell on my bum, and sometimes I just stood tall.
Ever wondered what it would be like to walk in someone else’s shoes? Ever wondered what it would be like to be the only white person in a shopping mall? Ever wondered what it would be like to be the only black child in town? Ever wondered what it would be like to watch a clerk come out from behind the counter to watch your African American son pick out his favorite pack of gum? Of course there are already several children in the isle doing the same thing but their color is pale. Ever wondered what it’s like to be the only one not understanding the conversation, the laughter, either because you can’t hear or because you speak another language? Ever wondered what it would be like to go to school in a wheelchair? Ever wondered what it would be like to be different enough, that every time you enter a small town restaurant everyone pauses to stare?
Frankly, I wouldn’t want to trade life shoes with anyone else, mine are difficult enough. I still fall on my face, bounce on my bum and struggle to regain my composure. It makes sense to make friends with our walking shoes, change what we can, accept what we cannot, and be kind to those whose walk is different. Those who manage this simple philosophy, can stand tall in whatever size boot he or she wears. Size 8 anybody? © 2007