Appreciating One’s Culture As Well As Accepting That of Others

Another key element of the Bravo Zulu presentation that I have been writing about is appreciating culture. While the initial focus of the presentation is on the various cultures of the branches of the military, as I listened I constantly thought about the multitude of cultures we each encounter every day: family, rank order in a family, an adoptive or in-law relationship family, co-worker family, church family, social organization networks… The list could extend forever.

While often we gravitate toward cultures that reflect our own truths and beliefs, this is not always possible. Take work for example. While every employee may be headed for the same goal, there are lots of ways to get there, numerous interpretations of products and events, and extensive differences in perspectives and opinions. Roughly gathered backgrounds can work as a strengthening force or as a detrimental one. The strengthening comes from listening to and respecting the ideas of others while feeling that one’s own ideas are accepted as well. Listened to, modified, adjusted, and redesigned, a strong group compromises to attain optimal results.

If, however, the group is so seeped in individualism and a lack of ability to consider and evaluate other potentials, the efforts will most likely be detrimental to progress. An inability to think about and reflect on a variety of possibilities inhibits their exposure and growth. A good leader works to advance approaches that vary but have similar objectives; an inept or insecure leader guides through authoritarian practices and disdain for others input.

Our individual culture reflects our attitudes, beliefs, behaviors, and values; our functioning group culture rearranges and combines, divides, multiplies, and introduces other analytical functions to create a best case scenario. Groups that stomp, moan, berate, and accept nothing but its own culture rarely achieve long-lasting success.

And so it is within family dynamics. The family who works as a team to confront and solve issues or problems is far more likely to achieve success than one that falls into the pit of negativity and disgust of others. In my Alzheimer’s Support Group caregivers often fret about serious decisions they face in helping a loved one while being attacked by other family members, often those who live far away, who want to monitor from a distance, offer advice without clear understanding of a situations, or who demand changes when they are unaware of the actual circumstances. While I encourage conversation and interaction with those who care about a love one, I also work to strengthen the stance of my attendee. It is much different to care for someone 24/7 or several times a week than it is to dish out advice during or after a once-a-year fly-by visit.

The Intersting Things I Learn

In my newly reinvented life I am finding time for special pursuits. I try to be certain that these experiences will be positive and rewarding – no one needs downers! As a result, I am finding kind, wonderful, and informative individuals everywhere. I spent time in my granddaughter’s kindergarten class. Her teacher allowed me to mix right in and work with the students, something that I love. Since names are printed on their desks, I have the advantage of greeting kids personally. “Hello, Desmond [s sounded as z],” I announced. “How is your story coming along?” He looked at me in wonder and then with a bit of disdain, “It’s Desmond [s with an s sound],” he uttered. “Let me tell you a bit about phonics.” Kindergarten! I loved it my quick lesson. I later learned that the Desmond with a “z” had gone home sick prior to my arrival so then I better understood my mini-phonics tutorial.

I sat with my grandson during lunch (and an amazingly healthy hot lunch arrived!). A boy across from us took an instant interest in my presence, asking who I was, why I was there, what I was doing, when I’d be leaving, and when I’d be returning. I answered in rapid fire until finally he paused. “You look a lot older than my Grandma,” he conveyed with a wince. I acknowledged that probably I was but I was still Dayne’s grandma. He pondered this, then responded, “You know, you’d look way younger if you would color your hair. My grandma does and she looks way younger than you do.” I smiled and thought about the gray strands adorning my head.

I explained that I didn’t want to color my hair, that I was happy with it, and thanked him for his input. Not to be deterred he reminded me several more times how much better I would look, and so much younger, if I just got rid of that terrible gray stuff. I laughed, scratched my head in wonder, and then happily removed myself from the scene when we were finally dismissed. Unsolicited advice is quite enlightening (and I do not infer the lightening change of my hair!).I can’t wait to meet this gentleman’s grandma. I’ll be returning to Dayne and Bryn’s classrooms in a few weeks – what other insight might be shared?

Locally I took part in the first presentation of a special movie night focused on forgetfulness, brain injury, PTSD, dementia, and Alzheimer’s disease. A group is seeking ways to educate our community about behaviors, attitudes, misunderstandings, and misinterpretations in an open atmosphere of learning. One of our crew members received a comment questioning why we would be showing 50 First Dates, a film focused on traumatic brain injury, when someone in attendance, a loved one, or a caregiver might be present who might have such a decline. Well, that’s the point. If we discuss confusion, forgetfulness, every day/hour/minute becoming a new moment in life that disregards connections of instances that took place just beforehand, we can better support a loved one who has cognitive difficulty.

I had no idea that Adam Sandler could portray such a kind and sensitive role as he does in this movie – loving Drew Barrymore regardless of her memory loss and daily replication of life. I admire the loving reactions of her father to ease her stress about forgetting. One of the most profound statements reflects Sandler’s belief that every kiss should be just like the first one – sweet, tender, honest, committed. I go beyond that with every sunrise and sunset, every encounter and discussion, every hug and utterance, should be as rich and as meaningful as the first. Sandler the philosopher – wow!

Life in the City After Years Spent in the Country

Retiring to live on a farm in the country was like living in a worldly paradise. The rural way of life exists at a slower pace, achieved without the rush one experiences when living in the city. Neighbours are friendly and caring and the homes not built on top of each other. Generally, the style of life is so much more relaxed and casual than that of city living.

Country living provides air that is fresh and wholesome. You savour the luxury of taking in sights that are calm and melodious with never-ending expanses of open land

The usual daily sights for one to take in and enjoy are scenes of sheep nibbling away at whatever they can find in the fields to eat, as well as cows happily lazing in the sunshine.

The eye sees acres of wheat softly blow in the wind, as well as tractors slowly ploughing fields in preparation for crop planting. At harvest time there is much activity as the farmers hastily reap the wheat, canola, or other crops before they become too dry.

All this provides tranquillity that is so preferable to the noise emitted from cars speeding as fast as possible on the over-crowded city roads. Life such as this is bliss, but like all good things that come to an end. Unfortunately, may continuing to remain in the country for you come to an end for one reason or another.

Returning to the city can prove quite a traumatic experience. The different ways and lifestyles of the people you encounter can certainly give you a jolt. In the country, people have time for you whereas in the city the daily demands do not encourage lengthy conversations or visits not arranged beforehand. Certainly, nobody just pops in for a cup of tea and a cookie without a prior invitation.

However, it does not take too long for the adjustment to the hustle and different styles of everyday life. You even learn to switch off from constantly hearing the neighbours dogs repetitive barking or the noise from the planes coming to land or take off at a nearby airport.

Spending time catching up with the news from friends from the past and enjoying a cup of coffee at the shopping malls provides one now with many pleasant interludes. Also, there is now the opportunity to go for trips to the movies or to see stage shows. Visiting art galleries and museums is limited when living in the country and become easily accessible when living in a town. So, after all, there is much to gain from city living!

Through international travel, I gained experience for writing original articles, reports, marketing and SEO directed content on various and specialized subjects. With the pen so much can be accomplished and put into words that often cannot be communicated verbally. This is the beauty of writing for enjoyment as well as for providing an income.