Years ago I read this book and loved it from the first page! M. L. Rossi, author of the smart and sassy book, What Every American Should Know about the Rest of the World ^ writes “Just call me a cultural romantic. I love to explore other worlds. I love to live where the history is unfamiliar; the architecture thrills me; the language, the food, the rituals are altogether exotic. I love being immersed in the entirely foreign, being in a place where I have to learn about life there from scratch.” I could so relate!
Her book has pointed out simply and clearly what is needed to become a well-informed global citizen. She goes on to share two of the ways to do this:
1. To understand where you are in the world, you need a map
2. Life is a lot easier if you know the language.
Maps and vocabulary are going to be key ingredients to becoming a global citizen. But there may be more to it.
Prior to becoming very familiar with traveling to other countries, I did some coursework with intercultural communication at a university. It was interesting to know of different customs, cultural mores, the development of a people’s pride, etc. These were almost like mental exercises to test one’s level of credibility of other cultures and determined how static or flexible was one’s sense of values. I learned that the more unlimited the mindset, the more unlimited the life experience.
So maps, vocabulary, tolerance, credibility, flexibility and an open mindset are all part of being a global citizen. If we add to each of the qualities above a more spiritual view, I think we have it all. Here are some key spiritual qualities that I have exerised along my travels and stays:
Equality - To understand where you are in the world - you need to understand we all have an equal place in the world. It is knowing that there are other ways to think and to live. This means respect, humility and accepting that you will need to lean on a power higher than yourself to be able to truly love mankind.
Speaking love - Life is a lot easier if you know the language. To be able to speak another’s language is an act of humility and respect (especially if you can speak the language well!). However, it is even more important to actively love the individuals I
am coming into contact with for the first time whose ways and culture are quite different from mine. “When the heart speaks, however simple the words, its language is always heard from those who have hearts.” writes Mary Baker Eddy. Love is a universal language.
And “Love is the fulfilling of the law” as it says in the Bible. I have found when I nurture those qualities of humility, and love, and respect and wisdom, I am shown the appropriate ways of showing respect and care. I will be welcomed in to more people's experiences and experience a richness and depth to life that I have come to love.
Credibility – understanding that you can love, help, heal, receive gifts from others graciously gives you a humble authority to see and do good.
Tolerance – comes easily when you are open to learn, to not judge and to ask questions. There are other ways to see beauty, progress, success, fulfillment. There are an infinite number of ways to think and to be. Be firm in your understanding that we are all rooted in universal qualities such as Truth, intelligence. The expressions of these qualities are infinite, but we can be confident that these qualities are evident in every experience we encounter.
Discernment - The exciting thing I have found is that we DO have one Father and Mother - Everyone IS my brother and sister! Understanding cultures helps me to see what in my thought is original thought and what may be a result of my picking up influences around me. It also helps me protect my thought against prejudices and stereotyping.
Flexibility – always be ready to be surprised. Realize that you don’t know what you don’t know and be open to learning. In a world of infinite good and infinite possibilities, goodness blooms in many different ways. On the other hand, I enjoy other cultures, in that i enjoy seeing how diverse, how infinite is God's expression in His children. There are whole new ways of expressing marriage, family, education, commerce, leisure and more.
An open heart – let in the glory of Life. Life’s lessons are learned from everyone and everything. Seeing with an open heart puts infinity on the faces of strangers and places. It is also knowing that there is one heartbeat – a pulsating force of Love that flows through each of us. I have grown so much in the atmosphere of those who have grown up in cultures different than my own. The largest lesson is to learn to love and listen.
I have come to see that each one of us is
country, a continent, a compound idea of infinite Spirit.
Did you know that MBEddy defines both earth* and man** as a compound idea? My ability to have a little more compassion has grown, as I exercise my thought in contemplating others' perspectives. My relations with others have improved as I learn to listen more and be open to new ideas.
Two of my favorite citizens of the world are my mother and a former colleague. What they have in common was that they love people deeply and unconditionally. My mother has not yet traveled outside of her country, but every friend I have ever introduced to my parents, from Ethiopia, Iceland, Germany, Cameroon, Colombia, Brazil, Colorado, next door – it almost doesn’t matter where they are from – she just loves them. Likewise, a former colleague: She speaks nine languages and moves from one culture to the next with hardly a blip. They both know what it takes to be a global citizen. The best "global citizens" I know are those who love most unconditionally. They love beyond cultures and borders. It is to know that we are all God’s children and we are all welcomed and at home in the world.
Being a citizen of the world, we know each of us has a place and a purpose. Each nation has its own color and unique contribution to the world. With love, humility and respect, we can all find our way to bring more progress and peace to all mankind at the street level and on a global scale.
^ This was the first in a series of books she writes, including a recent one about the Middle East
Kim C Korinek, CSB
banner photo (c) Micah Korinek; other photos by Gabe Korinek, Kim Korinek, Brad Crooks. Leslie Larsen (c) 2016