Culture Clash: The Battle Of Being Yourself Around Others part 1

WARNING: There will be a lot of reference to all ethnicities. They are nothing more than a description of my relationship with the individuals that represented each one and not intended to be offensive, whether implied or direct. Neither does it reflect my views about any of them. If you are sensitive then it is best not to continue.

What Happened At School
I acknowledge that I did not have the best of friends in primary school but I will admit that they played a huge part in shaping who I am today. Having transferred in the fourth grade a few times in different schools, making and keeping friends was a very daunting task. At first I hung around my Black guys (more Sub-Saharan Africa, not African-American) because it came easily and naturally. After a few days I found myself being ridiculed and scolded by the Caucasian guys in my class. This came as a huge shock because I was a literally just transferred and before I knew it I was already public enemy number 1! What did I do? Who spread rumours of me and what were they? Most importantly, why was it only the Caucasians? The only person I suspected was a neighbour of ours who, to my misfortune, happened to be my teacher and, ironically,  Black as well. No other dots connected.

The Victim Approach
There was nothing more embarrassing and shameful than pleading for acceptance into the various groups that were formed during break time. All that needed to happen was for everyone to stand up and go to another spot as soon as I arrived. I literally felt like a black sheep! All this continued for a few days, in fact nearly a week, until I gave up. Two guys came to my rescue, one a native-born Zimbabwean, the other a Zimbabwean of Italian descent. These two very quickly became my best friends and that, I believe, is where a multicultural side of me was born. I say this because I never spoke our native language, Shona at all at home, which would have been a great start to understanding how so many things in our culture work. I was ignorant of a lot of things. I have realized the connection between the language and way of life which in essence is exactly what culture is.

Andy and Edward (the Italian) kind of served as my culture liaisons. To be honest, to this very day I still don’t understand or know what it is I did to have such negative influence, but the Caucasians began warming up to me when they observed my outstanding performance in soccer. Admittedly my guys standing up for me when the need arose played a monumental factor in pacifying my now friends. I will always cherish their friendship, as their deeds will forever be imprinted in the depths of my heart. As the days and weeks passed, slowly but surely I became very close to my Caucasian friends, so much so, that they ended up being very good friends of mine. I predominantly stuck with them more than any other race. Granted I did have Indian and Asian friends which I was good with too, it is only that I somehow-in a very strange way-was able to relate to the Caucasians more readily and easily than any other ethnicity.

Going Home As Someone Different
The serious dynamics with regards to the Shona culture are amazing. The number of battles I have had to face with my cousins, uncles, aunts and grandparents are crazy. Due to the close relationship with each family member, both immediate and extended, there no cousins, nieces, nephews aunts and uncles, basically no extended family. Now those terms are there in the language aside from the fact that there is an exceptionally deep value placed on blood relationships. It was strange to me when my female cousin, the daughter of my father’s brother, told me I was her brother. In my culture her father is my father because they are brothers. The same goes for mothers who are sisters. It gets very interesting when referring to sisters-n-law, how you refer to them depends on the age difference between you and your brother’s wife or his wife’s sister/s. A taste of how it works is broken down here and here.

How Did You Handle All That?
With great difficulty! Having spent the majority of my primary school life not learning anything about the deep parts of our culture, I stayed with what was easier for me-the West. When I introduced my female cousins to each other, since they were my cousins from the sides of both my parents, I told them that they were each other’s second cousin. Needless to say that definitely raised eyebrows! Imagine their reaction if I told them about their great uncles and aunts.
Music, movies and TV shows heavily influenced my cultural views too. For example my stepmother is to be acknowledged as my real mother because she is my father’s wife. I completely disagree with that since it was, still is, and alway will be very confusing just thinking about having two mothers. I believe it was Parent Trap and of course Modern Family that played a part in that. Then there are other points to consider generally with all cultures:

1) The language
2) The way you both address and behave around those older than you, namely, parents, uncles, aunts, all their friends and colleagues, and most importantly senior citizens.
3) Clothes
4) Food
5) Music

Unfortunately I learned all these the hard way! Thankfully I had friends and some family members show me the ropes in order to avoid further embarrassment. I am not a fan of our traditional meal which happens to be the staple food: Sadza (South Africa- Pap; Kenya-Ugali; Nigeria-various, depending on tribe). The other traditional piece of food I detest is what we call guru which is tripe (cow intestines).

How Are You Multicultural?
I have kept to part of my culture which is appropriately addressing the elderly and behaving the same as well. Occasionally eating the staple food and really only wearing the traditional clothes on Africa day. It does sadden me though that we do not actually have any national attire. The other part of me is South African, European and American. More on that later.

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Time & Its Expressions

The Time Difference 

First there are 2 Greek words for time, Chronos and Kairos. Chronos is the sequential or chronological time. The clock that passes as the earth continues to spin on its axis. Then Kairos is more a time lapse, a moment of indeterminate time where everything happens. It’s like an opportune time, seasonal, in the sense that events occur in your life in different patterns and moments.

Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 

To everything there is a season, and a time for every matter or purpose under heaven.

 A time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to pluck up what is planted,

A time to kill and a time to heal, a time to break down and a time to build up,

A time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance,

A time to cast away stones and a time to gather stones together, a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,

 A time to get and a time to lose, a time to keep and a time to cast away,

A time to rend and a time to sew, a time to keep silence and a time to speak,

A time to love and a time to hate, a time for war and a time for peace.

All this is the kairos time because it speaks of moments in time. In other words a moment to be born and a moment to die. Those moments will transpire as chronos, the chronological time, takes place. As you begin to think about events you plan and attend, also think about how each small moment in your life affects you as it leads up to that event.  One more thing before I discuss some expressions.

Ecclesiastes 9:11

I returned and saw under the sun that the race is not to the swift nor the battle to the strong, neither is bread to the wise nor riches to men of intelligence and understanding nor favor to men of skill; but time and chance happen to them all.

Another version says, “By being at the right place at the right time.”

Expressions about time

Money expressions.
“Buy me some time” This one is often used in movies in situations where the enemy may need to be distracted so that the hero and his team can infiltrate the premises and achieve the main goal, or at least the means to the main goal. People use it today as if it’s a commodity or product. Can anyone sell time?

The thing I don’t get is, people some times or often waste time because they don’t take time to carefully think about and plan how they are going to spend their time. This means they don’t invest time in the small things so that they won’t have to worry about losing time through being unable to control their emotions, which puts them in a position where they may not be able to get that time back, especially when it matters most.

The other thing is people spend too much time doing trivial things that they think are important; are unable to make time  (or make up for it) for the really important things (friends and family); burn themselves out and end up having no time for the especially important things (meetings, talent shows, time out with friends and the intimate relationships and so on).

My favourite one, “I don’t have the time,” or “When I have the time.” Some of these expressions really are funny. It is not as if there is ever going to be a moment where time will not exist for anyone. The people who use those particularly phrases correctly say, “I don’t have time for that.” Of course some would go on to add, “Right now.” I must confess, I very often have the habit of saying that I don’t have time for that, this would usually be because I refuse to do something or prefer not to do it.

Now the show that popularised the phrase, “Ain’t nobody got time for that,” Sweet Brown, really got my friend saying that a lot. Anyone who has seen that will react that way the very second I mention that I don’t have time for that. That is the key point to mention, “Time for something.” It is completely different to simply stating that you don’t have time.

This next one is so true in the TV And Film industry, “Time is money.” When we say that we mean it in a very literal sense. The more time you waste the more money you waste, because it means whatever could not be done has to be either be redone, or the particular items, props, vehicles and so on used, need to be purchased again. Not to mention the production costs for rehiring the room, the length of the scene and so on.
People use it (the expression) nowadays either to make a point (such as a lecture against asking for money to argue for working for it) or to hurry someone up.

Uncomfortable terms
Here’s one, “I need to kill time.” Now that I think about it, it is actually quite funny if you look at it from literal perspective. Doing things that will help you pass the time should be useful for a time. Now there is one thing I do not really agree with that much:

Time heals all wounds
That simply is not true, at least, I do not think so. Some relationship break ups can be very hard, and it can definitely take some years to get over someone or recover from the break up. Those who have been verbally and sexually abused-whether as children or adults-have a really difficult time dealing with both the thought and reality of the experience. The only kind of wounds time can heal are physical ones.

Some awkward ones
I’m running short on time. Time to confess. How often have you said this?

Living on borrowed time. Meaning to live beyond your life expectancy. How many times have you heard this being said? How many people do you know can relate to this?
Anyone who has been in a situation where they survived when they otherwise would not have, had it not been for the miracle of God, can relate to this.

I’m pressed for time. I used to say this a lot. More often than not it was to make myself appear busy so that the task that someone wanted me to do, that I did not want to do, would be less important simply because I would not have time for it. There were more times where that was genuine than those that were not.

Let’s split the time. I said this a lot when it came to group activities where some individuals had more time to do a certain activity than others.

Find the time. Something quite a big majority of people have a hard time doing. All they have to do is look for it in their schedule or sacrifice time from something else. I know it is not easy, but it can be done. Interesting enough, though, you can’t find what you already have.

Conclusion
At the end of the day life is short:
James 4:14

 Yet you do not know [the least thing] about what may happen tomorrow. What is the nature of your life? You are [really] but a wisp of vapor (a puff of smoke, a mist) that is visible for a little while and then disappears [into thin air]

Psalm 103:15-16

As for man, his days are as grass; as a flower of the field, so he flourishes.
For the wind passes over it and it is gone, and its place shall know it no more

Though we may not be able to make up for lost time, we can make the most of the time that we have now.

For it is up to us to decide what to do with the time that is given to us, Gandalf the Grey: Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring.

As every second passes we grow to realize that we will never get it back and I believe it starts with our words because it all comes from the heart. If we can guard our heart with all vigilance, above all that we guard, for out of it springs the issues of life (Proverbs 4:23), then I believe we have lived the life, that at the foundation and heart of every human’s existence, that is the life meant to be lived.
We grow in time, we learn in time, we flow with time and wait in time. When time is lost for one thing, we find it in another. Time is often traded for an experience. Which would you choose: A walk in the park with your beautiful/handsome friend or a free whole day pass in a theme park where you can have the time of your life?

Most things, if not everything, in time happen for a reason. Now that reason may not be easily understood at the current moment in time, however, there are some things that are meant to be known and revealed in due time. Therefore it is important to know the contrary effect of time. Where there is light, there are always shadows. Where there is victor, the defeated also exist. A desire for peace (in one area) can give rise to war (in another). Hatred (towards something) is born in order to protect love (for something else).  Time unveils these things as it goes by, and so all we can do is be prepared for them when they come. Of course our choices affect how these things come to be. All time does is give us the result of the choices we make. If we are disappointed with the outcome of what has taken place, we have to look back and locate the source of the choice made.

These are things that are in our control. The other things such as natural disasters, are beyond our control. All the crime in the world, the riots, the decisions politicians make at the expense of the citizens they lead, are all things that time allows us to understand when the right one comes. Our responsibility-in order to change that which we do not like-is to take the time to understand why the events have taken place the way they have up to a point where we can agree that there is nothing more that can be understood, then,  use our own personal time to the best of our abilities to improve ourselves so that we can lead a life that improves others. I am certain that the meaning of life lies in those two things.

Time is the best teacher

Time is the school in which we learn, time is the fire in which we burn.
Delmore Schwartz

Use your time wisely

This time, like all times, is a very good one, if we but know what to do with it.
Ralph Waldo Emerson

Check your priorities

If you want to make good use of your time, you’ve got to know what’s most important and then give it all you’ve got.
Lee Iacocca

Small things matter

You’re writing the story of your life one moment at a time.
Doc Childre and Howard Martin

Do only a few things

One cannot manage too many affairs: like pumpkins in the water, one pops up while you try to hold down the other.
Chinese Proverb

Focus on the present

It’s how we spend our time here and now, that really matters. If you are fed up with the way you have come to interact with time, change it.
Marcia Wieder

Lost time gone forever

One thing you can’t recycle is wasted time.
Author Unknown

The importance of time

Until you value yourself, you will not value your time. Until you value your time, you will not do anything with it.
M. Scott Peck

Don’t procrastinate

A wise person does at once, what a fool does at last. Both do the same thing; only at different times.
Baltasar Gracian

Don’t excuse, you are in control

In truth, people can generally make time for what they choose to do; it is not really the time but the will that is lacking.
Sir John Lubbock

The great dividing line between success and failure can be expressed in five words: “I did not have time.”
Franklin Field

 

Pinpoint Problem People

The worth of any friendship can be measured by its contribution to your victories. People are different. Choose friends who make deposits into your life instead of withdrawals. Your warfare will reveal the true character of those around you.

Be courteous to all, but intimate with few, and let those few be well tried before you give them your confidence– George Washington

Friends and good manners will carry you where money won’t go– Maragaret Walker

“Silence make the real conversations between friends. Not the saying, but the never needing to say that counts.” Margaret Lee Runbeck

Romans 16:17-18

 I appeal to you, brethren, to be on your guard concerning those who create dissensions and difficulties and cause divisions, in opposition to the doctrine (the teaching) which you have been taught. [I warn you to turn aside from them, to] avoid them.

18 For such persons do not serve our Lord Christ but their own appetites and base desires, and by ingratiating and flattering speech, they beguile the hearts of the unsuspecting andsimpleminded [people].

Uncommon Treasures Require Your Willingness To Pursue

You will never possess what you are unwilling to pursue. Joshua observed Moses. Ruth reached for Boaz. Elisha followed Elijah. Make a habit of pursuing Greatness. Your Respect For Greatness Is The First Clue That You Possess It Yourself.

Proverbs 13:20

Wise friends make you wise,
but you hurt yourself
by going around with fools.

 

Intercession

I remember the teacher we had in our D.T.S (click the link to find out what that is) mentioned how this is a literal standing between God and the world or person or people. So you, in a sense, are trying to bring God closer to the person/people by standing in the gap and pulling, pushing etc them closer as much as possible. It takes effort to do that. Which is why intercession should never be taken lightly. The synonym to this word is intervene (to occur or be between two things; mediate).

The next time you pray for someone or a group of people, keep in mind that you are doing more than just praying on their behalf. You are bringing them towards God to the best of your abilities. It’s not easy carrying someone on your back or shoulders for long distances, especially when climbing hills! I like to picture it like that so that when God moves on their behalf, I can feel like I crossed a huge milestone!

Faith in a prayer-hearing God will make a prayer-loving Christian. —Andrew Murray

I have so much to do that I spend several hours in prayer before I am able to do it.—John Wesley

“When you pray, rather let your heart be without words than your words without heart.” John Brunyan

Prayer is earthly permission for heavenly interference– Myles Monroe

I love this. I was really moved when I heard it:

All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.

Imagine being in battle and the enemy is invading your camp and tearing everything apart! To stand there and do nothing but simply watch (what was part of a huge part of your life, as) it all gets destroyed-valuables taken and very special and important people kidnapped (if fortunate)-is a tragedy too hard to bear. Where was/is your heart? Where was your mind? What were you feeling? Pain? Anger?

The value of prayer
I remember a teacher at a seminar I went to saying that people very often tell you that they will pray for you when you ask them to and end up, 9 times out of 10, not doing it. It’s both funny and sad, but more sad than funny.

Solomon was praying for God’s people, Israel, with regards to protocol (behaviour, procedure, attitude, the right way to do things) in the Temple he built. He asked God, in great detail, to be pleased with their offerings and also when they obeyed (observed and faithfully kept) His commandments, laws, precepts and statutes. Another request he made was for God to pardon and forgive any sin they would commit, both knowingly and unknowingly, should they realize it and decide to repent. This is how God responded:

2 Chronicles 7:14

 If My people, who are called by My name, shall humble themselves, pray, seek, crave,  and require of necessity My face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven, forgive their sin, and heal their land.

Taking prayer (intercession) seriously
One thing I love to say is: If you put so little heart into your prayer, you can’t expect God to put much heart into answering it.

I see prayer and intercession as part of giving and receiving. What you give God (as far as your heart is concerned) is what He will give to you (in response to how you approached Him). God will move in your life (give attention to your words, actions and whatever you need Him for at any time and any place) proportionate to the depth of the relationship you have with Him!

Let those words sink in. Personally the best example I can give is Job:

There was a man in the land of Uz whose name was Job; and that man was blameless and upright, and one who [reverently] feared God and abstained from and shunned evil [because it was wrong].

His sons used to go and feast in the house of each on his day (birthday) in turn, and they invited their three sisters to eat and drink with them.

 And when the days of their feasting were over, Job sent for them to purify and hallow them, and rose up early in the morning and offered burnt offerings according to the number of them all. For Job said, It may be that my sons have sinned and cursed or disowned God in their hearts. Thus did Job at all [such] times Job 1:1, 4-5

This was his habit! His habit translated into his character. It became a part of him. It wasn’t custom anymore. Watch what happens as a result of this continual practice:

 Then Satan answered the Lord, Does Job [reverently] fear God for nothing?

Have You not put a hedge about him and his house and all that he has, on every side? You have conferred prosperity and happiness upon him in the work of his hands, and his possessions have increased in the land. Job 1:9-10

All he did was pray for his children! Even if they did right in the sight of the Lord, just to make sure that they remained that way, Job prayed for them. Pay very close attention to this as I finish this post:

 After the Lord had spoken the previous words to Job, the Lord said to Eliphaz the Temanite, My wrath is kindled against you and against your two friends, for you have not spoken of Me the thing that is right, as My servant Job has
Now therefore take seven bullocks and seven rams and go to My servant Job and offer up for yourselves a burnt offering; and My servant Job shall pray for you, for I will accept [his prayer] that I deal not with you after your folly, in that you have not spoken of Me the thing that is right, as My servant Job has
So Eliphaz the Temanite and Bildad the Shuhite and Zophar the Naamathite went and did as the Lord commanded them; and the Lord accepted [Job’s prayer].

And the Lord turned the captivity of Job and restored his fortunes, when he prayed for his friends; also the Lord gave Job twice as much as he had beforeJob 42:7-10

Weekly Photo Challenge: Friendship

My boy DJPDOGG. We be representing the King and He is what lays the strong foundation between us:

“Don’t walk behind me; I may not lead. Don’t walk in front of me; I may not follow. Just walk beside me and be my friend.”
― Albert Camus

 

The Arrivals part 3: Children’s Mind Control

Here is something really sad but gives us something to think about when we allow the T.V to babysit our children. Please see the intro and the previous videos first because they all tie with this:

By the way, the cartoon stations that are subconsciously and spiritually bad for kids are Disney Channel, Disney XD and Cartoon Network. Based on this video I would have to say that Boomerang and Nickelodeon is in the list too. That may mean YO.TV, KTV and any other channel for kids whether on cable, DSTV or any other station. I know that leaves us with the question, “What can our kids watch?” To be truthfully honest, nothing! Unless the program has biblical principles in it, it generally is not safe for kids or adults for that matter. It’s a good idea to investigate some cartoons because they are very bad for kids like, Courage the cowardly dog, Ben 10, every cartoon on Cartoon Network including Powerpuff girls, Samurai Jack among others and Dragon Ball Z.

It is important to watch what your kids watch and see what’s going into their minds. There are lots of things implied in these cartoons like hatred towards siblings, cannibalism and especially selfishness. Programs like Suite Life of Zack and Cody, iCarly and Hannah Montana (to name a few) portray mannerisms that exude control and a “I-get-what-I-want” mentality. I’ve seen my little sister copy some of them and I do remember which programs had them!

Watch what they watch and teach them the right way to behave and most importantly, the right way to think!