Everyone deserves to have a place where they belong. Everyone also deserves to be loved. Children often carry this belief at a young age because of their innocence. They fear no danger and they have no judgments. Shane, a western novel about a mysterious man who stumbles upon the Starrett’s farm, is narrated by a child, Bob. I recently attended a discussion reflecting on the experiences of someone who is homosexual. To some, this is also a mysterious entity that they have no knowledge about. Perception is very dependent on how old we are. Babies just love unconditionally. Adults judge without even blinking first. It’s a part of human nature. Acceptance is dependent upon this perception. In Shane, the young narrator accepts this man despite his unknown past. In life, we develop preconceptions about others, which decide whether we accept them or not, especially when it comes to how we perceive sexual orientation.
Bob is first fascinated by Shane merely by what he wears. He comes riding in on a horse dressed in black; a true man of mystery in the west. As Shane is welcomed into their home he retains a hero-like stature for Bob. All of the Starrett’s embrace this childlike way of looking at Shane, like he could do no wrong. Marian is skeptical, but that changes. “He’s dangerous all right, Father said it in amusing way, then he chuckled. But not to us my dear…In fact, I don’t think you ever had a safer man in your house.” This was one of the first discussions the family had about Shane. I enjoyed the fact that Joe was wise man throughout the entire novel. He understood what wasn’t explained and didn’t question it. He just accepted it. If Shane would have initially told them about a dangerous past, would they have reacted the same way?
In the discussion I attended. We observed the life of a man, from childhood up until his golden years. The music video, “Same Love” by Macklemore and Ryan Lewis, depicted this. His whole life consisted of a struggle with others accepting his sexuality, others including him. As a child, he saw nothing wrong with the way he felt, but he himself began to feel like an outsider. When others found out they changed drastically, even his own father. Why couldn’t they look at this man with the same innocence the Starrett’s looked at Shane?
We are naturally afraid of the unknown, the dark. We see that the Starrett’s shed light on dim situations by simply not judging. Had the man been welcomed on the same terms that Shane was, his whole life could have been different. It could have been a lot less hostile.Children perceive everything as magnificent and new. If we as a society can learn to embrace this, forever, then I think there is hope that we can all live in harmony and focus on what is more important.