Fantastic movie. Agreed. Perhaps you loved it because of the historical value or the personal victory won through struggle and persistence. We are all inspired when we see someone win a battle after a long fight. For me, the real treasure in this movie is the depiction of a cross-cultural friendship. My favorite line was, “I’ve actually never talked to a common person.” He said this to a man who had become his first friend ever. It’s a powerful testimony to the beauty of getting outside of ourselves and our comfort zones and blossoming all the fuller.
I facilitated a global citizenship workshop last night to a group of college education majors. I love facilitating cultural discussions because I learn something new every day. What I learned last night is that I wrongly assume that adults know how to describe their own culture. I was reminded that it is only when we have something different to compare our lifestyle to that we are able to describe our own. The session prompted me to ask the more direct question that I ask of middle-school students, which is: Describe your home, your family, your school, your town and what you like to do. This is the first of five questions on a cultural study called the Story Portrait Project. The other questions in the survey are aimed at getting more value-based information – what we treasure, what we are concerned about, and what we hope for our future. I am facilitating the Story Portrait Project in a number of settings, with a goal of creating better cross-cultural understanding – be it racial, international, generational, political, or economic diversity. As we grow older and have more experiences, we become more multi-cultural. (hopefully!) I was joking with an African American friend of mine that I am more African than he is. He agreed. While he has the history and the skin color, he hasn’t lived in Africa. My 6 years in Africa has certainly given me some understanding for African cultures, many of which have melded into my being. Other colors on my culture pallete come from the roles that I play and the choices I have made; I’m a mother, wife, Christian, professional. My interests and hobbies as well as my kid’s interests also define my personal culture. I remember before I had kids, I declared that I would never become a “soccer mom.” That was a repulsive culture to me looking from the outside in. Guess what I’ve become? Yep, I spend my afternoons running my kids from soccer to piano to tennis – I’m the taxi – and loving it. The more multi-cultural we are, the more liberated we become – free from fears and insecurities and most importantly, free from judging others. We also move into the realm of seeking out and embracing diversity, instead of avoiding it. The global citizenship path is an exciting adventure. My family is preparing to stretch ourselves into a new cultural frontier. We are learning Spanish and looking forward to immersing ourselves into Guatemala for the month of July. Can’t wait to add that flavor to our pallette. How about you? What does your cultural pallette look like? What’s your next painting? What did you learn from the King’s Speech?