Be Kind

To Each Other : Would you agree that what we were taught in Kindergarten are some of T H E key foundational lessons of life? The lessons even came in easy sing-song-like rhyming couplets such as “sharing is caring!” 🎶 But have you ever considered how some of those lessons could be ethno-centric or culturally-based? I was taught The Golden Rule in Kindergarten: “treat others as you would wish to be treated.” I thought this was a pretty straight-forward lesson. But in moving to several other countries in my upbringing (and in adulthood), I learned that The Platinum Rule is far better in intercultural interpersonal relationships: “treat others as they would like you to treat them.” This rule is ethno-relative, meaning it encourages you to consider the cultural context you’re in and to practice perspective taking.  How would my friends here feel valued, appreciated, and heard?  How can I show respect?  What does respect look like here?  What does K I N D N E S S look like here? It may be as simple as taking off your shoes before you enter your friend’s house. Or not being offended when you bring over a hostess gift, your friend doesn’t seem bothered to open it right away (because in some cultures, it’s more important to pay attention to the guest, not the gift). If you feel offended, you’re not practicing the Platinum Rule. Consider your cultural-context.  Practicing realistic cultural empathy and building authentic relationships requires you to understand your cultural lenses and to shift your perspective to see how you can serve your friends better. Context is golden. But Culture is King. Be kind in the way the cultural-context operates. [And by the way, that does require you to take off your metaphorical shoes so you can walk a mile in theirs]

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