Not the Same

God spoke to me this morning through my washer and dryer.
Okay, before you think I’ve gone crazy, read on.
As I was thinking about our current living situation here at the training center, I was reminded of cultural differences.
Everyone here lives in a quad: four apartments with a shared living room. My assumption then, and apparently the assumption of many, was that all the apartments were the same.
I was talking to one family about the frequency of laundry because of the almost doll-sized washer and dryer. They looked at me oddly and we discovered that their W&D are full sized.
On another occasion, a couple couldn’t figure out why our boys were sharing a room – that is, until we realized that their apartment is three bedroom, while ours is two.
And as I thought over those interactions this morning, it hit me: what a powerful lesson for us as we prepare cross cultures and learn to live with another peoplegroup. Just because we do things a certain way does NOT mean others do the same. We must be careful to not make assumptions. We need to seek to understand the practices, habits, and cultural norms of those with which we want to meet. In fact, we may need to give up some of our preferences in order to really gain an understanding of their values and mindset.
It’s easy to think our way is the best way. It’s easy to just assume that others do things like we do them. But I have a feeling that over time our minds will be broadened to some of our habits daily practices that are extremely Western, and maybe even extremely unnecessary.
(And as I try to start wrapping my brain and heart around all of this, I am, appropriately, starting on this helpful book!)

2 thoughts on “Not the Same”

  1. Very well said and a lesson we could all take to heart. Getting out of our own mind and habits and trying to put ourselves in another's shoes can be difficult, but looking at things through someone else's point of view is a good way to see why they may think and act differently form us.

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