There seems to be a lot of divisiveness in today’s world. Polite differences of opinion have morphed into open conflicts. There are two groups, I am pleased to report, where I have seen no evidence of this.
First is the Master Gardener program sponsored by US land grant universities. When I enrolled in the (Clemson University) Master Gardener education program in 2002, I had no idea how it would affect my life. Through the classes, the requisite volunteer work and ongoing membership in the local MG Association, I have met people of all ages, ethnicities and socio-economic levels. I would never have encountered them in the course of my normal activities. Somehow a love of gardening and respect for nature levels the playing field and brings us all together. Differences of opinion still exist, of course, but shared goals enable us to work together without conflict.
The second group, which I have discovered only in the last two years, is the world of dog competition. My mixed breed dog and I will never compete in the crème-de-la-crème events of Westminster and the like. But we are having tons of fun on the local levels. Right now we are focusing on Rally events, with a dip of the paw into the Obedience pool. We are meeting owners and trainers from all walks of life. Yes, the events judge one trainer/dog’s performance against others in the same competition category. But everyone encourages their co-competitors. We cheer others’ successes. It makes a happier world.