I was sitting in my car with my friend Perez and his family. Perez’s dad and I were having a conversation about Uganda. They had just returned from the country. He and I were talking about British colonization and whether Uganda was a part of the Commonwealth of Nations. This led to a conversation about the monarchy and the culture of such. He and I talked away as Perez listened in the front seat. Perez, although he is a very busy young man, he listens intently and he speaks when something is important. And what he said to me in this particular conversation was very important.
As Steve and I were talking about the Monarchy, I flippantly said, “it’s strange.” Two words, nothing too big, most people wouldn’t have even caught it. But Perez did and he replied with such wisdom. “It’s not strange if that is where you live.” BAM! Wisdom.
We judge what is strange and normal and good and bad and right and wrong often out of our experience. Yes, I do believe there are some things that are right or wrong, good or bad that are universal, but most of the judgements we make, we do so out of our own experience. For instance when one from the US goes to London, they might say something like, “they drive on the wrong side of the road,” when in fact they drive on the right side of the road, it’s simply a different side of the road than someone from the US has experienced.
Our words count. How we speak of others and other cultures matter.
Have you ever had someone make a blanket statement about something that effects you? How did that make you feel?
I was so thankful for Perez’s words that day. He challenged me and reminded me that my words matter and that when I speak of differences I need to do so honoring not judging and my words do matter. Let’s all hear the lesson from Perez and learn to be thoughtful of our words as we communicate about others around us!