Today is the kick off for Tantalizing Tuesday! Each week I will share a post geared to move you to do something interesting and exciting. Let’s begin with our perception.
Our world in which we live is changing. Our schools, parks, community centers, retail markets, churches and government offices display an increasing richness of diversity. Race, age, economic status, religious belief, personal style, educational experiences, ethnic background, and cultural legacy all represent facets of our contemporary mission field. Diversity is all around us, both as a gift to be celebrated and an opportunity to be developed.
Yes, it is true that diversity is also being challenged. Some are under the weight of both depression and oppression.
It is true that every one of us sees things through our own set of lenses. Women see things differently than men. Parents see things differently than their children. Single moms see things differently than married moms. The wealthy see things differently than those who experience being impoverished. College-educated people see things differently than individuals without higher education…or any education. Pastors see things differently than their parishioners. One political party will have its perception, and so will the other. One ethnic group will see a situation very differently than another. One age group sees things differently than other age groups.
Our life experiences, our past treatment or circumstances, and our personalities all contribute to the information stored on our “mental tape” and how we view situations in daily life.
Our perception becomes our reality, but that does not necessarily make that reality factual. Our perception and the assumptions we make will dictate our response more than the actual reality of it. We automatically hit the “play” button of our mental tape, and from whatever information is stored, we make that our reality and respond based on that information.
Do you see what I see? When you step into the shoes of another and look through their lenses, what do you see? I want to challenge you each Tuesday to move past your fears and assumptions and take a closer look at what is around you and to also participate in doing something different than your normal activities. We miss many opportunities for growth due to remaining in our place of comfort.
Take a moment and answer each question.
- Do we look at a person and determine race?
- Do we look at a building and determine what’s inside?
- Do we look at a home and determine the interior design?
- Do we look at our finances and determine if we should move beyond our borders?
- Do we look at a person and determine their education?
- Do we look at a community and determine if you are welcome?
- Do we look at a person dress to determine their class and social economic status?
- Do we look at our age and determine what we can or cannot do?
Pushing ourselves beyond what we see is the only way to begin to erase our mental tapes. We must get off “automatic” and spend time researching and understanding the facts. It’s easy to live within our bubble of life and make the decision not to respond to another individual based on what we see. Begin today and erase the mental tapes of your mind.
The world today is made up of people unique in language, background, experience, and heritage. It is essential for today’s leaders to work effectively in cross-cultural situations and settings. It is essential for individuals to develop the awareness, sensitivity, knowledge, and skills needed to respect different cultural values and beliefs to effectively engage in mature conversations and build relationships with people who are different from you.
Did you know that your particular cultural group intersects with the diverse world around you? If we desire to be multi-cultural, we will ask, “How can I reach people across cultural lines to build community, and to make a greater impact?” To reach others far outside of our immediate cultural groups, we must build relationships, learn more about people, acknowledge others’ perspectives, and become transparent about our own cultural groups. Spending quality time strengthens familiarity. To understand our neighbors and the nations in our own neighborhoods, no matter their background, we must willingly invest ourselves, our thoughts, our time, and our resources. Social scientists tell us that culture consists of the values, standards, and expectations at work whenever two or more human beings interact.
Etiquette, preferences, language, traditions and customs, food, dress, musical tastes, and belief systems all inform and shape culture. Just as culture influences how we view the world and behave, so does it color our interpretation of the behavior of others. Our learned behaviors, prejudices, fears, and stereotypes often negatively interfere with healthy communication and trust. But just as these behaviors are learned, so too can they be unlearned.
Our experiences and backgrounds condition us for different responses, different perceptions, and different ways of thinking. Our experiences and our cultural groups determine what we accept as reality and what we simply ignore because it does not register within our view. Because of differences in assumptions and perceptions, we often do not see what does exist – and do see what does not exist. Transforming assumptions and perceptions is key to the process of selecting what we choose to believe, and see.
Do you see what I see? How will you look beyond what you see and push beyond your fears based upon your perceptions?
#TantalizingTuesday ties into Getting To The Root of It. How? We are getting to the root of what we deal with on a daily basis based upon past experiences, pain, wounds, and challenges that have held us captive and not allowed us to experience life on a more fulfilled expression of our faith.