Saturday, September 3

The Cultural Norm

Without consciously realising it, we all live by our own set of perspectives and do things in a way that we think are 'normal'! It isn't until you live out of your 'home' culture that you experience the feeling that ... perhaps there are whole loads of different possibilities out there!!

Take for example drinking alcohol ... amongst friends both Christian and non-Christian in the UK, it wouldn't be unusual to have a bottle or two of wine with a meal and to go out to the pub for a drink fairly regularly. Where we live now in small town America ... that would be quite a shocking thing to suggest to many of our friends here!!

Guns on the other hand ... are something that everyone owns here in the US ... and usually not just the one! This would be completely unheard of back home and 'shocking' wouldn't even come close to describing how our friends feel when we've mentioned it to them!! We find it highly amusing when visiting local gun and crossbow shops ... that everything is offered in pink for the ladies ... or you can purchase 'my first crossbow' gifts for your little ones! It's so cultural out here that for the first day of the hunting season, all the kids have the day off school ... because so many would skip school to take part anyway!

We have good friends living and working in Spain ... they faced a dilemma of their own. When expecting a baby they knew that if it was a girl she would be expected to have her ears pierced in the first few weeks of her life, otherwise throughout her entire childhood everyone would think she was a boy ... but it wasn't something they felt comfortable with at all. When they had their little bundle of joy, he was a boy and so for the time being they didn't have to make the decision.

With these and numerous other situations, when you're trying to fit into another culture and be accepted in order to be able to impact your new friends, there are always decisions that have to be made as to how much you are willing to adjust and/or compromise what your idea of normal is.

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