I’m sure many students of the English language have heard of this idiom before. For those not familiar, it is an idiom used to mean that people who are similar tend to hang around each other- Asians with Asians, Americans with other Americans, intellects with other intellects, actors with actors, lower caste Indians with their own kind; and so on. You see the pattern here?
Now, for actual birds, I see that it works for them. But when it comes to the human context, I have a small problem accepting it. The question is, why must it be that we can only and tend to only hang around others who are similar to us?
As an advocate of peace and harmony, I would rather have this scenario:
Imagine now if all the different kind of people are as varied as the birds, all in one big magical land. Why would that not be amazing?
The lowly, plain coloured pigeon could still learn from the magnificent peacock on the art of strutting, even if he hasn’t got the colours nor the feathers. It’s all about the the confidence.
The pigeon could teach the others about humility and the ability to send messages thousands of miles away when others couldn’t.
The kingfisher could teach the others how to kill and catch a prey in the water, not it’s native environment, with swiftness and efficiency.
The other magnificent bigger birds could learn from the tiny hummingbird what tiny-power means: being able to flap it’s wings hundreds of times per minute and yet stay completely ‘still’ in its location. With its heart beating hundred of times per minute, it truly is a wonderful creation.
Then the others could also learn from the mighty eagle, how to soar high into the sky, high above the melee below. The sky, where there is less chaos and a view to a kill.
Yet, the rest can also learn from the flightless bird that is the ostrich. It may have wings yet unable to fly and only run as fast as his body allows.
Now imagine again if all these birds are you and me together. We are constantly hanging around each other. We learn from each other’s strength and how best to adapt it to ourselves. You may think that you’re a lowly pigeon (you feel drab, nothing special) but what if an amazing eagle (an awesome friend) invites you on one of his/her flight high into the sky and along the way, encourages you to open up that small wings of yours to its full span and to flap even stronger?
By hanging only around other pigeons, you will never learn what it means to be a flightless bird yet have the strength to run as fast as a feline nor would you know the tenacity and strength needed to be a hummingbird, sucking away at a flower to get nourishment.
In real life, by us hanging only around our kind, we will not get the opportunity to learn from others and grow with the best.
Being in a mixed marriage and an expat, I have exposed myself to so many ‘different birds’ and I’ve learned so much! And I’m still learning! I learn more about subjects I am interested in and I learn new things about myself. I learn so much more about new people and the people I barely know. Learning is a life long process and life without learning, if a life not worth living. In my humble opinion.
Do you think you want to keep flocking? Share your opinions and thoughts please.