1. Respect, we all agree?

Respect is a funny thing. Whenever I deliver a workshop, webinar, or talk and we get to the place where we briefly pause to make community agreements together, respect hits the board quickly. Then I get what I call the “Amen Chorus”, everyone shaking their head in agreement and essentially saying, “Yes, that’s right. I agree.”

I Have a Crick In My Neck.


The truth is…

Respect means different things to different people and when you throw culture in the mix it can all look so different.


Years back, while conducting an all-day training for a very diverse group of adults, I was talking about this very topic. One man raised his hand and said, “Whew, I am so glad we are talking about this. I am from Pakistan and in my country, you are considered an authority. So I must look down to show respect, but then I remember that I am in America. So I must look up to show you respect. I have been moving my head up and then down because it is not easy to break culture.

2. Oops! I’m Breaking “Your Custom”

It is impossible to live in such an eclectic society without running into conflict over customs that are held dear and impenetrable. Our rituals, languages, religions and celebrations all give cause for joyous coming together as well as tense conflict.

Asking folks to change long-held customs and beliefs is akin to requesting that they detach limbs in many cases and yet folks are indeed asking.


Independence Day Celebration Contradiction


Some years back, I experienced a thought-provoking dilemma. In the moment of a huge firework celebration in Texas where everything is done bigger, a friend who is in the military, who was based there took to Facebook Live in tears. She made an impassioned plea to all Americans that they consider the veterans in their planning of local fireworks displays and celebrations. With each loud popping noise, she was experiencing PTSD. She wanted folks to know that this is real for thousands of military personnel.

An American cultural staple was causing extreme conflict for the very people who put their lives on the line so that we could celebrate “the reason for the season.” (Those of us who celebrate it, but that is a cultural conflict story for another blog.) This is an entryway into a rich discussion on breaking culture. Last time I checked, she had over 8,000 views and hundreds of comments.

3. I Shalt Not Offend Because Everything Is Offensive

One of the most popular complaints I hear from cultural gatekeepers on down to folks who “just don’t want to say the wrong thing” is everything one says is offensive to somebody these days. Well, not really.

While the waters of culture and context may be challenging to navigate, there’s nothing that thoughtful inquiry, conversation, deep listening, and ongoing pulling together and working to understand each other won’t cure.


But very little of that is going on these days because fear, not the cat, has our collective tongues.

I Love Lucy, No Really, I Love Lucy.


I read the most interesting 25 facts about the “I Love Lucy” show. The most fascinating one stated that during the episodes that included Lucy’s pregnancy, the scripts had to be approved by a priest, a minister, and a rabbi in order not to offend anyone. That could have stopped them, but they went full speed ahead with their message of humor in everyday life because they knew that it was bringing people together. Desi and Lucy were big on breaking culture.

Cultural shifts and breaks are happening everywhere, most rapidly in this country, even as we still face some of the same social issues that have been present for a century. The resistance that is rising up to meet these is only as strong as our fear of deeply understanding each other.

In Love,
Dr. Lynne

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