I grew up in a moderate size town in South Dakota. Looking back now, my environment was very safe and comfortable. but also created a certain naivety within me. My parents, now married for 50+ years, created a safe and comfortable environment, paying for private Catholic school, with a beautiful home, nice clothes and always a good meal. (My Mom is an AMAZING cook!) Yes my sister and I were lucky to have loving parents who instilled in us a sense of pride in our country, culture and work ethic.
My Mother is my inspiration, with strength of character, (She’s quite stubborn actually) and a heart of gold, a wonderful combination. She led by example, volunteering with Hospice, and working in a nursing home. She gives her all in everything she does and would do anything for anyone. I watch her now, as she cares for my 100 year old Grandmother, and my heart bursts with pride. My love of God and my fellow man come from her. From my Dad comes my empathy for others. Despite all of the traveling he had to do for his job as I was growing up, he was always at my side, comforting me when things weren’t going quite right.
In 1992, I married my best friend and love of my life. I took what I learned from my parents and entered the big bad world, still a naive South Dakotan, but that would change. Our first taste of a new culture was as teachers on the Rosebud Indian Reservation in South Central South Dakota, home of the Lakota American Indians. We learned to love these beautiful souls, who were giving and kind. They taught me to love our planet, Mother Earth, and accept the differences in others. It was here that I began to understand that even though we are all different, we are all one, unified under God, one of their core beliefs.
About 3 years after I was married, my husband and I moved to the East coast. Talk about culture shock! We moved from, South Dakota, population 700,000, and one of the poorest counties in the country, to a densely populated city and one of the richest areas of the county. We moved from a laid back and relaxed atmosphere to the stress and fast pace of the big city. Here I learned patience for others. (Something I’m still working on!)
In 2003, we set out on a new adventure. Armed with the knowledge from my parents, the wisdom from the Lakota people, and patience, we moved to England where we lived for about 3 1/2 years. This was an interesting time. We lived in a small village in England and traveled all over Europe, exploring its diverse cultures and beautiful people. While in England, I learned to love discovering the diversity of our planet. However, at the same time, the love of my own culture and country deepened profoundly. I was no longer that naive South Dakota girl, but a world traveler. It was during this time that I learned an EXTREMELY IMPORTANT LESSON, one I wish to pass on to all of you.
The lesson I learned in England was one of CULTURAL DIVERSITY. Why is this such an important lesson? Cultural diversity means “the existence of a variety of cultural or ethnic groups within a society.” This means we accept and respect ALL nationalities, cultures, beliefs, religions, languages, and traditions of other humans, while honoring our own. It means we don’t have to give up our culture or nationality to unite as humans or to come together as a planet. Embracing a nationality or culture doesn’t mean you dismiss others, it simply means you are honoring your own.
So for today’s MOTIVATION MONDAY, I am celebrating diversity, honoring my own nationality, and accepting the different beliefs and cultures of those around me.
To celebrate this day, I present to you the song CELEBRATION, performed by children from around the world.
In my search for things to include in this post, I discovered the following poem I’d like to share with you. There is a jpg image at the bottom of the page, along with a PDF version, in case you’d like a copy.
Remember, cultural diversity means we embrace our differences. It means allowing others to honor their nationality and beliefs without expecting them to change. When someone honors their own culture, that doesn’t mean they are hateful or dismissive of others, it means they are proud of their country, culture and traditions. We have a beautiful world, full of beautiful souls. By accepting our differences, by allowing others to take pride in their country and heritage, by learning from each other, we can come together as a planet. We all love where we come from, every one of us. Let’s honor that, let’s embrace that. Let’s CELEBRATE OUR DIVERSITY!