By Joe Rector

Lately, I’ve put a great deal of thought into puppies and small children. I’m not sure if this mental activity is the result of my advancing age or if I’m returning to my past youth. Still, who doesn’t like…puppies? Unfortunately, I know plenty of folks who aren’t such fans of small humans. At any rate, I’ve been thinking and watching both groups for a while.

A passel of puppies produces smiles on our faces. They love to play from the first days of life. A litter piles on top of each other and roots for food. No sooner are their eyes open than they begin games with brothers and sisters.

After they’ve been adopted by some loving family, those small fur balls annoy humans until they give up and play. Some younger dogs find ultimate joy in chasing a thrown ball or stick; others find more excitement in wrestling matches with their humans. A few are much more content lying on their backs and having someone rub bellies.

Because pups need plenty of exercise and socialization, owners take them to dog parks. There they are able to play with other K-9’s of every variety. While a pup might be skittish around bigger dogs, in only a matter of time, it joins the pack at the park and plays and runs and growls and barks with the best of them. Some play is rough, and occasionally, a yip can be heard, but rarely does another dog intentionally hurt a pup.  Anger, distrust, or hatred are foreign to pups. They love everyone and every dog with whom they have contact. No dog ever refuses to play with a dog of a different color or breed.

Small children are also precious creature who are fun to watch. Left to their own devices, meaning that parents stay out of the way, little guys and girls will fall into play with little effort. Oh, sometimes an argument arises over a toy that two children want, but for the most part, toddlers instinctively know now to play together. Leaders aren’t assigned by gender; either boy or girl can be “it.” The lead roles in games are taken usually by the children who suggest the game in the first place. All children are welcomed into the group. The more the merrier is the philosophy for them. No one is excluded because of skin color, gender, or economic status.

I, for one, am disgusted with the inequalities between races and social classes. It’s time we adults learned from puppies and children how to get along. They teach us that the color of another’s skin or fur and the amount of money or type of background are irrelevant. We are all God’s people; we were created by Him in His own image. To say otherwise is to deny the existence of a loving and wise God and to reject the teachings of His son. Let’s try to mend the wounds that have so long caused so much pain. Instead, let’s be determined that all God’s children’s lives are important. “Red and yellow black and white, they are precious in his sight.” Do you remember that song from childhood? How old were you when you learned it? Did you forget what it means?

We have much work to do. It should be done collectively. The chance to reunite this country and its people exists, but only if you and I play together like puppies and children.