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midweek Connect: 4/6/22 ~ Culture 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 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 descendants 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?

Share about that with a friend or note it here.

And instead of the usual Global SKILLs Links today, spend some time perhaps connecting with your own past and present generational dynamics. The internet is a great tool to find beginnings which have faded in history…but the dynamics of which are very much ‘alive’ today!

Thanks for being part of this Connect community. Until next week, Betsy

** Global SKILLs 3 Dimensional Dynamics Model: 1st dimension = HOME (which we looked at today) ; 2nd dimension = HOST ; 3rd dimension = HARBOR)

~ contact me for more information on this model and how you might use it in your current programming

2022 ~ Celebrating 40 years of working in

intercultural communications and global community building

Connecting, Collaborating, Cultivating Community

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