Sometimes, I find myself thinking about how culture can change, even over a lifetime. As a child, Halloween was a chance to dress up in a costume and an excuse to go begging for candy. There were times I’d hear whispers about someone tampering with the candy they were handing out and warnings not to take homemade goods from those you didn’t know well, but it was, overall, a fun and innocent holiday.
As I have aged, I have become aware of those who dabble in “dark arts” so to speak, and of their Halloween misbehavior — some of which is highly disturbing. I learned of the semi-pagan roots of the holiday. I learned that there are families who refuse to participate in the holiday. I’ve watched churches shun Halloween parties for Fall Festivals. I’ve learned to be sensitive to the children I teach and their various sensitivities to the “creepy” feeling of some Halloween music.
I’ve also recognized that I am o.k. with all of these feelings and reactions. While I would never condone criminal behavior in the name of a holiday, everything else I can respect. Why? Because I have learned two important things:
- Each person is unique and is taking on life by making the best decisions he or she can with the knowledge available. Even if I believe I have a smarter take on life, I recognize that it’s my choice, not theirs. At some point, it’s all good.
- Very little in life is worth going to battle over. Arguing, feeling superior, ridiculing — all of those things take precious time and energy that I could spend on positive, productive pursuits. Why waste a beautiful gift that I have been given.
So, as we enter the holiday season for most of the world, I hope that we can relax over our differences and see the beauty that unique perspectives bring to life.