'It's a small, small world ...'

By KRIS SHEARER Columnist Published:

"It's a small world after all, it's a small world after all. It's a small, small world."

Many of us have heard that famous Disney refrain several times in our life. But few of us realize how very true it is. It is difficult for us to imagine that the vast size of this planet doesn't really make much difference in human nature in people.

When we were living in Sugarcreek, a woman my husband worked with told me she had a message for me. She then proceeded to tell me that she and her husband had stopped for gas in a small town in South Carolina when a young woman noticed their Tuscarawas County, Ohio license plate. The young girl approached, saying she had family in Ohio.

"After we talked a bit," the woman told me, "she gave me a message."

"Oh?" I asked, still wondering what this had to do with me.

"She said to tell you hello." I stared blankly. "It was your cousin Tammy."

Wow. Even weirder … recently, as I wrote in an earlier column, I got back in touch with my second-grade teacher (one of those unexpected but delightful blessings our newest technologies offer). Then, I was looking through some old writings of mine and found an entry where I had talked about how my friend Sharon had revealed to me that she'd been a student teacher in my elementary school in my second-grade class … with the teacher I just got back into contact with.

So, yes, it truly is a small world. Reminds me of that unofficial Hollywood game "Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon," in which players try to connect actor Kevin Bacon to another actor in six moves or less. Usually works, too.

All laughing aside, though, it really is true that many of us are more closely connected than we believe ourselves to be. Indeed, if any one of us had the time, money, and inclination, we could all probably be traced back, along the century, to nearly anyone.

Makes me wonder, then, why we have so much dissension, hatred and intolerance in our world. If it is indeed such a small world -- and with communication technology, it's getting smaller every day -- we are in a perfect position to know and connect with people more easily.

Instead, though, we choose to see ourselves as heavily separated from others, off in our own little selfish worlds.

Wouldn't it be nice, though, if we could acknowledge that we are all connected and accept our differences and treat each other as if we were all family. Imagine…

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