by Marlene Bylenga, SCSBC International Education Coordinator ◊
We live in a world where technology has given us so many new ways to communicate. For the most part, many of these communication tools can allow us to stay better connected and work more efficiently. However, the art of conversation is at risk of being lost.
One of the characteristics of a good conversationalist is that of being a good listener. Every person has a unique story and history that needs to be heard; our communities should be safe places where these stories are shared and appreciated. Taking the time to listen to other’s stories allows us to appreciate differing cultural perspectives and leads to an awareness and appreciation for the diversity with which the Lord has created us.
As leaders, we work to foster an excitement within our student body about learning from others who have different cultural perspectives and expressions but who share the same Lord and Saviour. Leaders model what it means to engage in good conversation, to take the time to listen and learn from one another.
Be intentional. Go out and talk to people. Listen to their stories and enjoy each unique perspective. Community is strengthened as each person feels cared for, valued, and heard.
The following books are invaluable resources for those who work in multicultural environments:
Cultural Intelligence: Improving your CQ to Engage Our Multicultural World
by David A. Livermore
Bridging Cultural Conflicts: a New Approach for a Changing World
by Michelle LeBaron
Third Culture Kids: Growing Up Among Worlds
by David C. Pollock and Ruth E. VanReken