Who says we can’t all get along?

After I challenged you to come up with ideas for what unites us as humans, you offered gracious, decent, bridge-building sentiments. I thank you for them because I know that everybody likes to be thanked.

The idea arose after I wrote about inclusion activist Ellie Krug, who promotes a decidedly non-polarizing concept that she calls the Four Commonalities.

Krug believes that regardless of our gender, race, religion, socioeconomic status or political views, we all want our children (and/or nieces and nephews) to succeed; we all desire freedom from violence; we all crave 20 minutes of peace each day; and we all want to love and to be loved.

But I wanted more, more, more (another shared human trait), so I put the question to you:

What would you add to Krug’s list?

You responded via e-mail and social networks. Themes quickly surfaced, beginning with the practical.

We all eat, drink, sneeze, cough, pee, etc. (ask your 5-year-old to add to that list). We all need sleep. We like to laugh. And, yes, we all are aging, from the moment we take our first breath, “so we might as well embrace it,” said Barbara Raynor, via Facebook.

Many of you tapped into your protective instincts. “We all have someone in our lives we worry about,” e-mailed Laurie Brickley.

“We fear the death of loved ones, and often our own [death],” wrote Kerry Arquette via Facebook.

Some contributors used humor. “We want kids who are gainfully employed and moved out before they are 30,” said Steve Adams via Facebook. “Amen to that,” said another.

Others were poetic. “We love beauty in the world,” said Susan Sophocleus.

But it was the theme of our shared vulnerability that struck me as particularly poignant.

We all want to be appreciated. We all worry about being disliked. We want to be understood. We need to be needed. We want respect. We want to know that we have contributed to this world in a meaningful way.

“We all want to tell our stories,” said Mitch Sherman, summarizing well what so many of you wrote.

“From the stories we tell each other, we can draw out the similarities in our emotional lives, and the adversities we all face.”

So, please, go forward bravely — and ask.


In addition to the readers above, thanks to Diane Wussow, Barbara La Valleur, John Walters, Jim Bartos, Sharon Carlson, Karen Kitchel, Irene Lefton, Jolene Davis, Felicity Britton, Lou Ann Bravinder Olson, Michele Krier, Shari Cohen Davis, Diane Kelson, Chris Cloutier, Jerry Kohland John McClay.