WWJD? On the subject of inclusion

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WWJD? On the subject of inclusion

By Rowan McEwen

A while ago, I was doing virtual practice with the Lower Brass section of my Scout Band. There were only three of us in the meeting, but we pulled through and had a productive practice session regardless. After practice was over, we decided to just sit and chat. We chatted for three hours about our interests, what shows we watched, the state of modern society, and lots of other things. As I told my mom, I could even tell them about the super-obscure stuff that I like. It was glorious.

One day, I was sitting on the bench in Queen’ Royal College’s (QRC) Main Building, enjoying my lunch, when all of a sudden, a classmate approached me and asked if I wanted to join the school’s official band, since I was a trombonist. Since then, they’ve always had my back—in one performance on our school’s Career Day, they even waited for me to return to school, when I’d gotten stuck off-site, to begin playing.

Last Friday, I was heading up to get my second dose of the Covid-19 vaccine. As I walked onstage to get my shot, one of my classmates hailed me out and asked how I was doing. His name was Jonah Hinkson. We chatted a little bit and he asked me to volunteer. He even said he’d be there on the day I chose to volunteer. It was definitely delightful for one of my peers to speak to me, an autistic with very little communication skills.

So why did I mention those seemingly irrelevant events, and what do those things have in common? Well, they are all shining examples of inclusion at work.

As I may have mentioned already, I am a Venture Scout in the 1st QRC Scout Group, and as we Scouts know, the fourth rule of the Scout Law is “a Scout is a brother to all Scouts”. And let me tell you, the Scouts did just that for me. They looked past my flaws, my errors, and my unusual special interests, and found a potential friend. An ally. Someone whom they could count on to provide a good laugh, or help with creating posters for events.

I mention this because this method of behaviour is exactly what Jesus would do. Jesus didn’t turn the socially disadvantaged away. Instead, he saw people, and he knew that they needed someone to hang out with, too. He associated with those whom Christians would usually look down on—prostitutes, lepers, and even His worst enemies because Jesus didn’t care about prejudice. He cast all of that aside and loved His neighbour as Himself.

And so, in a world where Christians and Catholics are disturbingly trigger-happy about spreading hatred and putting others down, let’s follow the Scouts’ example, bury the prejudice, and include. Involve. Associate. While it may not change the world, it sure as sugar will change somebody’s world.

And that’s loving your neighbour.