If you are living in the 21st Century, the answer is, “Yes!”  Our shrinking world brings cross-cultural dynamics into more lives as each day passes. Globalization has highly personal consequences for our families and closest relationships. 
Cross-cultural challenges are nothing new.  The story of Madame Butterfly first appeared in 1898. Tales of immigrants and ex-pats have broadened our horizons for decades. Corporate training includes topics such as “Valuing Diversity” and “Cross-Cultural Communication.”  However, I perceive a growing need for skill in managing the multi-cultural threads woven into a growing number of families.

Today, academic and work settings thrust us into contact with people whose assumptions, behaviors, appearance and language differ from our own. Learning and working together can forge important bonds that eventually touch our family and friends. Love is culturally disconcerting as new partners and/or children with different roots join our intimate circle.

That was my own case when I, a protestant from New England, fell in love with a Jewish man born in Argentina. Learning to sway between continents and cultures continues, despite the decades that have passed since our first kiss.

While this is not exclusively a woman’s issue, it touches more and more women, given the choices offered by modern society.  There is room for a conversation about the emotional challenges that arise when we discover the diversity embedded in our own personalities or as we strive to strengthen the bonds within our 'no-longer-closed' circle of loved ones.

Through this conversation, we can help guide each other to safe harbors on our journeys of growth and self-discovery.  By pooling our experience, perhaps we can enhance understanding within our private worlds. 

Let's begin with a question:  If you perceive or experience a growing need to navigate diverse cultural currents in your personal life,  what challenges would you like to discuss around this table?  



Please join the conversation by clicking on "Comment" below and adding a reply after the last comment posted.

Bethe Lee Moulton
Author of Until Brazil
Blog Hostess at The Cultures Within Cafe


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Comments

Ginny Lenz
11/08/2012 6:25pm

My husband is gone now, but one of my problems revolved around the fact that our children were growing up in the culture I knew and I would often forget that he had grown up at a different time in a very different place. He had very little concept of the school system, the wants and needs of little girls growing up here and even less when it came to them being teenagers. In addition, he was very involved with his job and often traveling for weeks at a time. He was very good about me taking the lead in all of this, but there were times when I would have liked more input and support. And I would suspect that there were times when he really felt left out of the equation.

Bethe
12/01/2012 6:13pm

Ginny's dilemma raises the challenge of inclusiveness, especially for the person who is the "outsider". It is easy to assume that our partner sees the world as we do, because we love them. Yet, they may well be wearing a different pair of glasses and see things quite differently. In my own case, those different perspectives between me husband and me are so frequent and so openly discussed (sometimes with fervor) that it has been come a joke between us.


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    The Author

    Bethe Lee Moulton brings a unique perspective to her writing, grounded in strong family roots and inspired by global experience.  Her career as an international strategist inspired her to write her award-winning novel, Until BrazilHer blog, The Cultures Within Café, is a place to share the challenges and joys and challenges of living in an ever-smaller world. Bethe divides her time between Boston, Buenos Aires, and Boca Raton, to be with her far-flung friends and family, spanning four generations, multiple cultures, and diverse worldviews.  

     


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