(EDITOR’S NOTE: This is one of a series of seven essays on diversity penned by Trine University students.)
My name is Tyler Littlejohn. I am a junior at Trine University. I play football, run track, co-lead a faith group called Trine’s Christian Athletes, help with student advocates and am part of Res life.
Diversity is important. I am very outgoing, I enjoy interacting with others and I like to put smiles on faces.
Most importantly, I see people as people. We need dialogue between cultures, different economic classes. This is important because it provides a new perspective, and a different outlook on various backgrounds. It breaks past barriers that still exist today.
With information passed through generations, society today can use that to avoid past, negative experiences from occurring again
We need to make sure we talk to the other individual and not at them. James 1:19 says, “My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to become angry.”
We need to be quick to listen. Process what other individuals are saying (no matter what background or culture they come from). Be slow to speak. Do not be quick to have a comeback in a conversation. You cannot listen if one is speaking.
Be slow to become angry. Stay calm and rational when having a discussion. Each person has their own point of view, due to different backgrounds. Progress and evolution of cultures or social classes cannot occur when anger is involved. Anger can be blinding.
We should put ourselves second, which will give us a better understand of one’s lifestyle since we are not trying to focus on our own story.
Diversity consists of race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, socio-economic status, age, physical abilities, religious beliefs and political beliefs. Each point is a piece of the puzzle.
Two verses from scripture that explain this very well are 1 Corinthians 12:12 and 14:
In 12 — “Just as a body, though one, has many parts, but all its many parts form one body,” and 14 — “Even so the body is not made up of one part, but of many.”
We must come together as one body to form one nation and one country. Each point is different and unique in its own way just like us. But, the one thing each and every one of us has in common and makes us all similar and/or equal is LOVE.
Through love we should: Love to accept, love to appreciate, love to learn more about others and grow together as one.
Tyler Littlejohn, of LaPorte, is a student at Trine University and a member of the school’s Multicultural Student Organization. He presented this essay at the First Congregational United Church of Christ of Angola in its recent annual Diversity Sunday observance.