(HOST) Email is a quick and easy means of communication, and to make it even more efficient, commentator Edith Hunter has developed a kind of email short-hand.
(HUNTER) My North Carolinian daughter and I email every day. We share a basic philosophy of life and have found ourselves making the same summary comments many times in our emails.
To save space, we have developed some acronyms that help speed up communication. Perhaps our favorite is PAD, P-A-D,
or People Are Different.
When I was a little girl my best friend’s family went camping for their summer vacations. My family rented a cottage. I thought we were right and they were wrong.
Their family always owned a Dodge car. We always owned a Ford. Again I thought we were right and they were wrong. I even applied it to the kind of milk they drank. They bought Hood’s milk, we bought Deerfield Farm’s. It took me about half a lifetime to really grasp that People Are Different.
PAD, and it is all right to be different. Some people function best in the morning; others are night people. For some reason they seem to marry one another, which is difficult until one adopts the PAD philosophy.
I have discovered, finally, that really to accept such a philosophy is totally liberating. It doesn’t mean that you change your ways, although you might, but it does mean that instead of being judg- mental, you become accepting and thus more appreciative of other life styles. I’m still working on this.
In areas of religion and politics, it is more of a challenge. Here your beliefs should impact your own life and may seriously impact the lives of others. Nonetheless, it is important that you allow others to differ from you.
The problems arise when one person thinks not only that her values are correct, but that everyone else’s are wrong and should be given up.
Our other favorite acronym is NORTH, N-O-R-T-H, or Not Our Row To Hoe. You have just heard that a friend is taking out a huge mortgage to buy a house. If you want to give a little advice, fine, but in the end, NORTH. You’re not going to have to meet the payments. It’s not your row to hoe. It is liberating to realize that you really have only your life to live.
PAD and NORTH have in common the values of openness, accep- tance, and trust. These are values that are in short supply in the narrowly “one way is the right way” moral atmosphere of today.
We all have values and morals; we all have standards that are demonstrated in the way we live. No one has a monopoly on them. Life is much richer if we PAD NORTH together.
This is Edith Hunter on the Center Road.
Writer and historian Edith Hunter lives in Weathersfield Center. She spoke from our studio in Norwich.