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Connect mid-month RAP: 5/14/24 ~ Connecting Cultures across generations



Greetings and Happy Midweek!

And since today is nearly mid-month, it’s time for another of our RAP sessions (Review And Process, deeper and wider). Each RAP revisits a cross-cultural theme or topic from a previous Connect.  This month we are going to revisit the topic of generations across cultures and I’ll share the sequel and dig a little deeper into the original 2022 Connect, which I include below for easy reference - you might like to read that before this. 

Today’s exploration fits into the 1st / HOME dimension of our Global SKILLs 3D Dynamics Perspective, as did that first Connect, and we’ll also get some more insights from the 3rd / HARBOR dimension. [*] 

The HOME Dimension in 3D Dynamics is all about where we are culturally ourselves. When I, from the 1st family (1st wife was my great grandmother) met 2 years ago with my long lost relatives from that 2nd family (my great grandfather’s 2nd wife), we were each coming from our own HOME dimensions - which had had zero ‘connection’ with the other side. Well, not quite zero. My uncle (grandson of 1st wife) had responded to a request for family information a number of years earlier which is really why we even could contact each other. And we all did share our grandfather (for the elders in the group) / great-grandfather (for my generation). On that morning in April 2022, there were 5 of us who got together before the ceremony honoring said Sire - and it was really quite amazing and wonderful! 5 total strangers sitting around a table in a busy deli just blocks from our ancestors’ home turf where 2 families began their lives, completely separately. 

First of all, we were all pretty much blown away and totally excited just to meet each other! Talk about instant forgiveness for one thing - to allay all possible fears. I had wondered if they’d be wary of me because my great grandmother treated their great grandfather and grandmother quite harshly for many years. Not a problem! Or did I resent the fact that the relationship between our ‘greats’ split the family in an era when that was pretty much unheard of? Nope, not an issue.  

Instead, our total focus was on cultural, especially familial, things we actually had in common despite living several generations in different environments doing different kinds of work in different regions of the US and, for some of us, around the world. We quickly discovered threads of family traditions and stories and shared values and mutual interests and even similar career paths. 

This is why I place all this in the HARBOR dimension of 3D Dynamics, because that is a space where everyone brings something to the table and everyone benefits from what the others have to offer. Wow! By the end of that quick hour together, we were not only one newly bonding family - but already becoming friends. It was rather breath-taking. 

Then off we went to the ceremony, at which another dozen or so relatives - all from the 2nd wife side - gathered with others from the local and city-wide community to honor our Great Grandfather. There we all learned about how he and subsequent generations had impacted New York City culture in a number of remarkable, historic ways…but that, my friends - is another story for another Connect!  

Suffice it to say here, I fully recommend and encourage that you each look back into your own generational roots…I can pretty much guarantee, there are marvels to be found, cross culturally and otherwise!

How about you ~ pick one ancestor, do some exploring…and have fun!

Share about that with a friend or note it here. 

And check out the Global SKILLs LINKs below for more on cultures across generations.  Thanks for being part of this Connect community.

Until next week,

Betsy


Global SKILLs LINKs

~ kind of heavy academically…but interesting: https://academic.oup.com/gerontologist/article/40/3/270/605364 


Notes

Related Connects: 5/1/20 - everything connecting!; 2/24/21 - awakenings; 1/18/23 - reunions

* Through my business Global SKILLs and several partner subsidiaries I offer unique cross-cultural consulting and training including:

3 Dimensional Dynamics Model:  

1st dimension = HOME (which we explored this week); 2nd dimension = HOST ;                           

3rd dimension = HARBOR (which we explored this week) 

PROACTive Learning Strategies: (which we explored this week)                                                                                                  

PRO = PROfile, PROcess, PROgram

ACT = Applications, Collaborations and Transformations

~ contact me for more information on this model and these strategies and how you might use them in your current programming: betsy.barbour@gmail.com 


2024 ~  Celebrating 40+ years of working in 

intercultural communications and global community building

“It takes a community to build a community”


Please Note: this is copyrighted content. 

Please do not reproduce or share without my permission (betsy.barbour@gmail.com)

**********************************************************

Here are relevant excerpts from the 4/6/22 Connect with background story and what originally brought us all together.


Mid-week Connect, 4/6/22 ~ Cultures across Generations

Greetings and Happy Midweek,

I am about to leave for a 3 day trip up to New York City, which will include an interesting multi-generational, cross-cultural event…a street-naming ceremony honoring my great grandfather! [*]

So, I thought for today’s Connect, we could reflect together on culture across generations. This falls neatly into the first, HOME, dimension of Global SKILLs’ 3D Dynamics perspectives, since at the core of our identity - our ‘home’ - we are a coming together of generations, past and present, and future - and the cultures they embody.[**]

I’ll set the scene for this week’s family event to share some details and a subsequent insight relevant to my own HOME culture across generations. On my father’s side, in early 20th century New York City, family life was centered around my great grandparent’s involvement with their 4 daughters, their community and my great-grandfather’s work as an attorney and a real estate developer. Then, in the 1920’s, the part of the family of which my grandmother was an eldest daughter, went through a major split due to a divorce/remarriage and eventual 2nd family sired by my great-grandfather - which subsequently had no connection with his first family…for over 100 years!  This complete separation was partially based on socio-culturally defined behaviors and imperatives (divorce in those times was extremely rare and scandalous) as well as choices made by the independent-minded women in that first family (my great-grandmother and my grandmother).  

Moving then into different generations and cultural contexts, fast forward to 2022…and this coming Friday, the community in which both families have their roots will be publicly honoring our shared patriarch - my great grandfather. The participants will include myself (representing his ‘1st family’) alongside about 10 members of his ‘2nd family’. None of us have ever met each other! It should be very interesting - processing just how we are biologically related, and more so - how subsequent generations, each of ours included, have been culturally impacted by the choices made through what is now 4 generations!

At this point, I can just see most of you, who are from other parts of the world, scratching your heads to follow this all-American family profile! One insight I might offer is that, in fact, it helps me to consider all this from what would be a common cultural reality which I became very familiar and comfortable with while living in Africa = one man having multiple wives and families - all of whom find their ‘home’ identities in tightly woven combined family & clan dynamics. Ha - how very different from what my ancestors chose - leaving us descendents to start perhaps to sort it out as we celebrate together this coming Friday! 

I’ll leave you there…posing this question:

How about you? What cross-generational, cross-cultural dynamic have you run into lately which made you pause and reflect…and what was one insight you gained?

Notes

* My Great Grandfather was John J McKelvey. Here is the information on the event this Friday. https://www.norwoodnews.org/spuyten-duyvil-john-j-mckelvey-sr-honored-with-co-naming-of-villa-rosa-bonheur-way-on-april-8/ 

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