Monday, March 06, 2006

10 Commandments of American Culture

1) you can't argue with success
2) live and let live
3) time flys when you are having fun
4) shop 'til you drop
5) Just Do It!
6) no pain, no gain
7) enough is enough
8) time is money
9) rules are made to be broken
10) God helps those who help themselves.

Diane Thomas, the president of the Language School gave a talk today about these points. We talked about the values that Amercans, Canadians or Germans might have versus the values that Russians have. It is hard sometimes to identify with all of the values that "Americans" are supposed to have. But, I did have to catch myself when Daine was talking about how here it is normal to wear the same clothes over and over. People wash them and wear them again the next day. I mentioned that I noticed as soon as Diane walked into the room that she was wearing the same outfit that she had on the last time I saw her two days prior. So Russians would judge her for wearing different clothing everyday and I (an American) judged her for wearing the same outfit within a few days. We talked about how that is a judgement that many Americans make. Why do we value wearing different clothes everyday. Why did I find it important to mark on my calendar what outfit I wore when I spoke at a church?

Because of the value that is placed on success we equate what people wear with how successful they may be... or what they drive or where they live. Adjustments have to be made when you enter another culture. It is not about how people act... it is about what people value.

Do your actions show what you value?

Do you change your actions according to what the culture around you values?

Do you expect others to change their actions based on what YOU value?

Each of us will have a chance to meet with Diane and discuss our concerns about cultural issues and the school itself.

I realised today that I value flexibility and maturity. I got upset over the actions of people whom I considered to be inflexible and immature. I realised that other people value personal comfort and change can make people uncomfortable.

When our values clash with someone else's we may get an attitude of superiority. Our values are not superior to another person or people group... Our values are just different and different is not the same as wrong!

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