A third-culture kid (TCK / 3CK) or trans-culture kid is "someone who, as a child, has spent a significant period of time in one or more cultures other than his or her own, thus integrating elements of those cultures and their own birth culture, into a third culture."


Sunday, June 10, 2012

The Power Of One… Plus One

Is it inherent in our human nature to be stuck on the concept of what is best for me? When something bad happens in our life, many of us tend to blame that terrible feeling eating us up on the inside on everyone and everything else. It can never be our own fault that this unmentionable negative thing has crash-landed on our perfect bubble. It is even harder to accept any responsibility or brush off that funk – not in the cool 70s music way, no sir – and pick ourselves up when we caused this ripple of terror or even to just say, “I’m sorry.” Forgiveness is divine, but to say this last sentence seems to be increasingly superhuman or an alien dialect. I suppose, should this reality be otherwise, psychologists and therapists of all sorts would be out of a job.

Everyone always looks to gain the upper hand

On Sundays, I usually kick off the end of the week – or the beginning depending on which way you prefer to see things – with my weekly mass. It is a good time for reflection and spirituality, especially when our brave community leader seems to be out of touch with modern times. However, this past weekend, his sermon seemed to be spot on with where I was at in my train of thoughts. Maybe he has been getting into my blog to check up on his favourite churchgoer? Don't count me out! He encouraged his congregation to look beyond the “I” in aspects of life and embrace the Christian spirit of community and cooperation. Something he mentioned that really resonated with me was: “We always think we are so independent from others and never realize how many interdependencies we actually have.” This is a quote is definitely knowledge I tend to pass on to my children and future generations, much like my Pay It Forward mentality.

The need for material things and outdoing our brethren is crucial from the age we learn to walk and talk. Like the brother and sister playing jump rope on the sidewalk, the first one to quit will say: “I’m done. I’m going to MY house.” Although your sibling lives in the same house many times, you sense a need to exclude the other to somehow feel superior to another living, breathing, bag of bones just like you. Similarity is just no good. It just won't do, that’s why communism failed. How many of us have friends, neighbours, acquaintances, or even that person looking back at us defiantly in the mirror - let’s not kid ourselves, we’ve all been there – that are always stuck in the “I”.

For example:
a)      I wish I had a better car. (two “I”s in this one)
b)      My buddies’ TV is bigger than mine
c)      My girlfriend’s husband is cooler than you, or
d)      all of the above.

Undergraduate students in economics are taught the importance of a free market and that competition is in fact healthy. Tell that to the folks in the Eurozone! Even in Canada where there are so many monopolies, we are taught this from the very beginning. The PR campaign for the “I” is just gaining steam, leading us to believe that eventually, we all can the one calling the shots in Bay Street (the Canadian Wall Street) and earn those big bucks and bonuses, although there are really only a handful of banks in the entire country.

The truth is, interdependencies are everything. Take for example of the CEO of HSBC. Would he have a job and all that tremendous wealth that goes along with the position without the expendable customer service call centre lab rats? Would Michelangelo have had a Sistine Chapel to paint without labourers to erect it? When we decide to take that gigantic leap in a romantic relationship leading to marriage, the two parties enter a contract to make a life together. On my special day, the priest did not begin a process of negotiation where it was concluded my wife and I would be at a 60-40 or 30-70 split but there was an agreement to be there for each other in through thick and thin. Even the sanctity of holy matrimony has been soiled and is now just another victim to the ailment known as individuality. Wives and husband having individual accounts, almost as if reinforcing a sense of competition among each other. But wait a minute... When you tied the knot, did you not agree to make a life together? People appear to need much more convincing these days that working together can lead to greater accomplishments for the common good. There is still the need for great works out there. Rome was not built in a day by some divine intervention by the big guy upstairs (just look up to the heavens and you know you are looking in the right direction). It did take a large group of people to prop up those columns and run a government for the people, by the people and not for you dirty, unfashionable people called Barbarians.

Asked in Rome how long it took to get built, they shut me up with a gelato

I suppose what I am trying to say is that too many of us forget why we are where we are and forget to be thankful to who got us there. It was not some random act of chance or circumstances but to those in our team who drive us on to better things. People around us contribute in one way or another to our existence, and we should always be ready to thank them, forgive them and ask for forgiveness. When a community leader messes up, it is would be far easier (and better) if they fess up in order to make a mends, rather than let the entire neighbourhood burn down with a "My bad, dude" because of pride. Whether we are leaders, followers, wives, husbands, project manager, prophet, brother or sister, we all have interdependencies to be aware of and as such, to be grateful to have them in our lives. There is only one life to live and we have no say on how long we get to walk this green earth, so we might as well make the most of it. Some problems cannot be avoided but we can certainly all do with a little less stress, whether we cause it to someone else or to ourselves. ¡Aurrerá, nire jarrailek!

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