The wedding I attended over the weekend was held at a Serbian Orthodox church.  I was unfamiliar with the Serbian customs, but enjoyed witnessing them.

Two examples:  there was a “crowning”, with the bride and groom both wearing rhinestone crowns joined together with a ribbon and the Dance of Isaiah, where the bride and groom’s hands were tied together with the officiant’s sash as they processed around the church.  It made for a much more interesting ceremony than the weddings I usually attend.

On the day I was back, I attended a discussion group about norms and what it is like to be new to a culture.  One of the points was that we often need to travel to see that what we think is common is, in fact, uncommon to other groups.  I thought of the wedding — I am sure that the church rituals and folk dances at the reception are typical for every Serbian wedding and none of the bride’s immediate family saw anything noteworthy in them.

All of this reminded me of an exercise I am using in class in our Strengths Finder module — students sign their name five times with their dominant hand and then five times with their other hand.  Of course one feels much more natural, but neither is more correct than the other.  One just feels “right” for you. 

Make a conscious effort this week to see a slice of life through a different lens. You can enjoy the best customs and practices from another group and simultaneously learn to appreciate what you have been taking for granted in your own culture.  That is something to celebrate!

— beth triplett

About the Author leadership dots by dr. beth triplett

I'm the chief connector at leadership dots where I serve as "the string" for individuals and organizations. Like stringing pearls together to make a necklace, "being the string" is an intentional way of thinking and behaving – making linkages between things that otherwise appear random or unconnected – whether that be supervising a staff, completing a dissertation or advancing a project in the workplace. I share daily leadership dots on my blog to provide examples of “the string” in action. I use the string philosophy through coaching, consulting and teaching to help others build capacity in themselves and their organizations. I craft analogies and metaphors that help people comprehend complex topics and understand their role in the system. My favorite work involves helping those new to supervision or newly promoted supervisors build confidence and learn the skills necessary to effectively lead their team.

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