One of the things that fascinates me about my work with Medical Ambassadors is getting to meet and talk with people who live an work all over the world. That’s fun. But you know what is perhaps most fascinating about it? Learning about how their culture operates – and why. I can virtually guarantee that if you hear about some fascinating cultural phenomenon, behind it is a fascinating explanation of why they do things the way they do. Cultures are formed, at least in part, by worldviews. And worldviews are incredibly fascinating!
For instance, here in the US, we encourage our children to excel. But in some places in the world, for a kid to be a lot better than other kids at sports or school or whatever, it brings shame on them rather than kudos. There are reasons for that in their culture.
Americans value time. Everyone has a watch, or smartphone with a calendar attached to it so we aren’t late, we show up where we’re supposed to be when we are supposed to be there regardless of what we have to abandon in order to get there. Not so with many cultures. They think that talking and spending time with someone is far more important than adhering to any kind of schedule.
What would the world be like if we could truly learn to see things differently – even if for just a few moments? How much more might we be sympathetic to other viewpoints instead of jumping to call others ignoramuses, idiots, dolts or some other derisive name? What if we really tried to see things from their viewpoint – even if we never wind up agreeing about those things? Wouldn’t the world be a better place? Might not politicians, for example, be much more civil to one another? Might not better candidates be drawn to run for office if they thought they might be treated with less disdain and more compassion?
Might husbands and wives not fight as much? Might children at least understand why mom and dad say no so often? And who knows, maybe we’d learn to love one another a bit better, too. And that wouldn’t be bad!
Here’s an example of seeing something differently. I shot a picture of this barn up near Fiddletown, CA and developed it normally with Photoshop Creative Cloud, then made another copy that looked different as an exercise in a seeing things differently. We might even find other people to be more interesting and appreciate them in new ways if we did that with one another!
ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY: on this day in 1901, President William McKinley’s assassin, Leon Czolgosz, was executed in the electric chair at Auburn Prison in New York. Czolgosz had shot McKinley on September 6, 1901; the president succumbed to his wounds eight days later.
McKinley was shaking hands in a long reception line at the Pan-American Exhibition in Buffalo, New York, when a 28-year-old anarchist named Leon Czolgosz approached him with a gun concealed in a handkerchief in his right hand. McKinley, perhaps assuming the handkerchief was an attempt by Czolgosz to hide a physical defect, kindly reached for the man’s left hand to shake. Czolgosz moved in close to the president and fired two shots into McKinley’s chest. The president reportedly rose slightly on his toes before collapsing forward, saying “be careful how you tell my wife.” Czolgosz was attempting to fire a third bullet into the stricken president when aides wrestled him to the ground.
McKinley suffered one superficial wound to the sternum and another bullet dangerously entered his abdomen. He was rushed into surgery and seemed to be on the mend by September 12. Later that day, however, the president’s condition worsened rapidly and, on September 14, McKinley died from gangrene that had remained undetected in the internal wound. According to witnesses, McKinley’s last words were those of the hymn “Nearer My God to Thee.” Vice President Theodore Roosevelt was sworn in as president immediately following McKinley’s death.
Czolgosz, a Polish immigrant, grew up in Detroit and had worked as a child laborer in a steel mill. As a young adult, he gravitated toward socialist and anarchist ideology. He claimed to have killed McKinley because the president was the head of what Czolgosz thought was a corrupt government. The unrepentant killer’s last words were “I killed the president because he was the enemy of the good people—the working people.” His electrocution was allegedly filmed by Thomas Edison.
TRIVIA FOR TODAY: The word “yardstick” is derived in part from the Old English word “gird” for the word “yard,” which translates to “stick.” As a result of this melding, we’re literally calling the measuring device a “stick-stick.”