Why is it important to understand the different cultures that you we are helping? Why can’t we just assume that everyone is exactly like we are, and needs the same nurturing and conditioning as we do?
We live in a world that has been so deeply intergraded, that each culture provides a different outlet or resource that can be helpful or hindering to the next. Our upbringing and belief systems will not always align to those of different backgrounds, but going a step further and understanding the different dynamics allows to respect and tolerate the different cultures.
We not only learn to respect and tolerate others, but we have the ability to learn something NEW.
I grew up in a family with one immigrant father, who came to the United States from Mexico when he was 12. He was born 1 of 9, growing up in a cardboard shack. Determined to have a better life for his future children, him and 3 other siblings, not knowing a word of English decided to head north to Los Angeles.
My mother on the other hand born and raised in Los Angeles and grew up in a very traditional Irish catholic family. With 2 boys and 2 girls. Living under a strict household, she rebelled our of traditional values and at the age of 18, she had her first daughter, my eldest sister Terry.
When my parents met, they both have lived to incredibly different lives ultimately meeting each other at work.
My father was a stubborn, shy provider, who was very family orientated, and always wanting to make a name for himself.
My mother was the complete opposite, and adopt her own set of beliefs from her past experiences, knowing her as very open, loud, and cynical.
Growing up half white/half Hispanic, you were able to evidently see the shift in cultures when in came to the holidays or celebrations. Our Hispanic side would go-all out and put on a show, while our white side was very cool, calm, and collected.
When it came to dealing with trauma or difficult situations, my father’s advice would be “keep it in the family”, or simply brush it under the rug, and never discuss it. While my mother’s approach would be to “tell the whole world” and call everyone in her network, and vent to anyone who would listen. She would make her problems known, and wasn’t scared of a public scene.
As you could imagine, these two both had completely different approaches to dealing with their issues. From one extreme to the other, there was no middle ground or balance on how to effectively communicate with one another, which resulted in more fights and confusion.
When you are dealing with two different backgrounds, its best to take into consideration the other person’s upbringing as well as your own. When we allow ourselves to the opportunity to be open-minded and tolerant of the other persons needs and beliefs, we are allowing ourselves the same opportunity for them to do the same.
Each person’s ideas and beliefs are different, but by understanding and respecting other cultures that may be different from ours, allows us to gain tolerance, respect and trust, that builds a rapport for effective communication.
When you allow yourself to understand the different dynamics of cultures, you allow yourself the opportunity to better serve them and people like them.