The hoodie and the jacket

By Jason A. Smith


I knew I wanted to write about this the moment it happened.

My little girl teaches me something on a daily basis, and those moments are truly some of the brightest moments in my life these days. Whether I’m listening to her sound out a new word or watching her as she reads a certain book for the first time, I’m continually amazed by how well she’s doing in school thus far.

But what makes me even prouder is knowing the kind of person she’s becoming outside the classroom. Recently she showed me, yet again, that she’s picking up valuable traits which books don’t teach.

A couple weeks ago, I was getting my child ready for school. She decided to wear a pink hoodie to go with her outfit, and she was pretty excited about this particular accessory, judging by the broad smile on her face. I asked her why she was so happy, and she said it was because the hoodie matched a jacket worn earlier in the week by her friend on the school bus.

At this point, I was a bit confused. I was familiar with the jacket her friend had worn, but it was black, made from a different material than my little girl’s hoodie. Rather than letting it go – which I’m not known for doing anyway -- I asked my child why she said the two items matched.

Her answer was both adorable and unintentionally educational at the same time. She informed me that they matched because they both have pockets.

I couldn’t get her answer out of my head that morning. I couldn’t help thinking that there’s a lesson to be learned from my daughter’s words – a lesson about learning to appreciate what makes each of us unique.

I’ve said for a while now that society seems to be more fractured these days than ever before. Some people might blame the recent presidential election cycle for this dilemma, as it was perhaps the most contentious political race in recent memory.

To me, though, the problem is about more than that. More often than not, the cause of the division we see in today’s world can usually be boiled down to a simple difference in opinion. We’ve become so attached to our precious points of view that anyone who disagrees with us suddenly becomes unworthy of our time.

Call me crazy, but I think we miss out on so much by doing this. If God meant for each of us to agree about every little thing under the sun, He wouldn’t have given us all different brains, different experiences and different paths to travel in life.

But, in His sovereignty, He put us all here together – differences and all. There’s a reason for that. We have to figure out a way not just to put up with each other, but to appreciate and value those who don’t look, act or think the way we do.

At first glance, my daughter’s hoodie and her friend’s jacket had little in common, from their respective colors to their types of material. Despite their obvious differences, she found something they have in common to get excited about.

If she, at her young age, can learn to do that with a hoodie and a jacket, perhaps we can learn to do the same with each other and our points of view.

Jason has worked in newspapers since 2005, spending the majority of that time in Henry County. He lives in Covington with his wife and daughter.