The world has always been a culturally diverse place. In today’s world these cultures
are coming closer together causing clashes that often lead to conflict rooted in the lack of understanding or acceptance of the other.
Understanding comes prior to acceptance and often time pre-judgements are made based on current perceptions and stereotypical information we’ve been exposed to during our lifetime. We have a decision to make in that moment when we encounter someone that is outside of our world of normal. This decision involves seeking to understanding and choosing to accept in order to maximize the relationship.
Cultural proficiency is the vehicle that leads to this understanding of one another. This is when we understand and value our own culture and the cultures of those around us (Lindsey & Lindsey, 2016). Notice the definition begins with understanding one’s own culture prior to seeking to understand another. Understanding is not something that automatically happens, but takes effort, courage and the willingness to seek it. In every relationship understanding often makes the difference in how we respond to each other’s actions, appearances, and cultures. One statement that changed my perception was made by an older gentleman that lived next to me when I first moved to Minneapolis by the name of Mr. JB. He stated, “The world would be a much better place if we all worked to understand each other.” Understanding one’s story, motivation, dreams, goals, values, and spiritual beliefs makes us more more accepting of each other. This further shapes our perception causing us to make more informed decisions during interactions. We react differently due to us knowing more about them.
A husband will make different decisions the more he seeks to understand his wife. A
mother will make different decisions when she seeks to understand her daughter. A coworker or boss won't assume the worst when mistakes are made when there is more understanding. In Proverbs 2:2-5 the Bible (ESV) says, “Making your ear attentive to wisdom and inclining your heart to understanding; yes, if you call out for insight and raise your voice for understanding, if you seek it like silver and search for it as for hidden treasures, then you will understand the fear of the Lord and find the knowledge of God.” It's amazing that we can find the knowledge of God when We seek to understand. We all have a relationship like this with someone.
To maximize how we can be Better Together we must seek to understand those who are not like us. A family, church, small business, large organization, non-profit, and government can all be Better Together when their is an environment of seeking to understand. The more we do this together, the more of God we will see in our lives.
Take the opportunity to ask someone that is not like you to tell you their story and you share yours with them. Then reflect on the difference in your perception before and after your discussion. We Are Better Together!