Greetings and Happy Midweek!
It’s also the first day of Autumn here in the northern hemisphere. I find that changing seasons in the midst of life’s other complexities gives us a moment to reflect - on times past and times to come...putting together literal and figurative ‘pieces’ (experiences, accomplishments, insights…) into a picture which informs, clarifies and not infrequently delights!
So today I thought we would explore one cultural facet of puzzles. In our Global SKILLs training content, we look at ‘Transformations’ as part of our PROACTive learning strategies, and I think ‘puzzling’ (my use here for the act of putting together any kind of pieces in any context) is definitely a transformative activity - turning a bunch of disparate entities into a coherent unity. And then there is also the definition of “puzzling” as “causing one to be perplexed” - which of course fits perfectly into the global experience...how often do we truly find ourselves ‘puzzling’ over something when we interact cross-culturally?!
I have carried with me for many years one puzzling experience which formed part of my cross-cultural foundation. It took place in central Cameroun, during the village living phase of my orientation to life in Africa. One day, I noticed my village host, an elderly farmer, sitting quietly in front of the hut where we lived. He was totally focused on something he had placed on a stool in front of him. It was a cardboard, 6 piece ‘toy’ puzzle, a freebie from a package of Vache Qui Rit cheese spread. The thing which fascinated me was this grown man’s own fascination and total concentration on putting together this puzzle. In a different culture, child’s play perhaps...but for this man, in an isolated rural setting far from ‘western’ influences - it was something which clearly intrigued and challenged him, meriting his effort to transform these 6 separate pieces into something cohesive.
My take-away from that ‘puzzling’ moment has been over the years to take the time and make the effort to put together pieces in situations I encounter cross-culturally...transforming disconnected, perplexing input into a clear, and yes - often delightfully beautiful, picture!
How about for you ~
What is an example you’ve experienced of cross-cultural puzzling & its transformative impact?
Share about that with a friend or note it here.
And check out the Global SKILLs LINKs below for some more ‘puzzling’ content.
Thanks for being a part of this Connect community!
Until next week,
* PROACTive Learning Strategies: PRO = PROfile, PROcess, PROgram
ACT = Applications, Collaboration and Transformations (which we looked at today)
~ contact me for more information on these strategies and how you might use them in your current programming
Global SKILLs LINKs
~ a fun exploration of western puzzles, historic and contemporary: https://www.oh-i-see.com/blog/2020/03/23/a-cultural-heritage-of-puzzles/
~ the “cultural puzzle”, a tool for cross-cultural training: https://files.eric.ed.gov/fulltext/EJ759641.pdf
~ a selection of global puzzle makers - some culturally appropriate and some less so!
Latin American: https://www.zazzle.com/latin+america+puzzles
African & African-American: https://www.seriouspuzzles.com/jigsaw-puzzles/by-theme/cultural-themed/african-american/
2021 ~ Celebrating 40 years of working in
intercultural communications and global community building
Connecting, Collaborating, Cultivating Community