These Gives Celebrate Diversity On Canada Day- Happy Canada Day!
And All Those Who Contribute to Our Unique Canadian Quality on Canada Day – July 1.
Today I’d like to suggest something a little different. Instead of celebrating the differences among us, I’d like to recognize similarities. Don’t get me wrong. I don’t what to dismiss or put down anyone’s heritage or religion or nationality. Your personal DNA is the most important part of you. But at times, it may help to appreciate what you have in common.
There’s a lot of talk in business today about DEI, diversity, equity and inclusion. These are the buzz words that show that companies are on top of the latest trends. There are new titles for people who are responsible for ensuring diversity and inclusion are top of mind in the workplace.
Learning Similarities as Well as Differences
My husband and I have travelled to many countries all around the world, both as tourists and as workers. We’ve seen the manifestation of various cultures in religion, food, and celebrations. We’ve participated in cultural events, even though we realize that we can’t possibly understand all the cultural nuances we are witnessing over the course of a few weeks. We are definitely not experts in diversity, equity and inclusion but we participate to understand and appreciate the cultures and countries we have visited and worked with.
But what I’ve always felt, as a mother, a grandmother, a worker, is that we are similar to one another in more ways than we think. And these ways can be an introduction to learning more.
For example, I can relate to many cultures as a mother or a grandmother. My experience has taught me that talking about someone’s child and sharing stories about your own children opens up communications. Your child is beautiful, said in gestures or language, is bound to draw two people together. Communication about children is a universal theme.
We bond all the time with people through similarities first. Religion, education, a shared hometown or experience are common interests that bring us together. And while our backgrounds may be different, it’s our commonalities that first attract us — our love of pizza, our children, our fight for a common cause or against a common enemy. Maybe it’s our workplace, or our neighbourhood.
What are Some Gives That Celebrate Diversity?
- How do you feel when another parent pays your child a compliment? Doesn’t that create a bond with the other parent regardless of their nationality, race or religion? Don’t you feel like you have received a gift? Does it matter if that other parent is a different colour, or from another country? That compliment is a gift to you.
- When you join a Neighbourhood Watch Group for the first time and you see the range of people in the room who think, like you do, that protecting your space is important. Doesn’t that make you feel good. You see them and they see you. It’s like a gift to both of you.
- What about if your boss at work, who is a different race and religion from you, gives you an apron because she knows you both like to cook. A gift of similarity. But what if instead of “Kiss the Cook” on the front it’s made from a material from her home country. That goes beyond similarity. It’s a gift that lets you into her world a little more.
- When we join a group different from ourselves, your gift may be sharing your skills in a new way or learning from others. This exchange is a true gift of understanding and acceptance into a new world for everyone.
- When thinking of gift-giving for children, we usually think of the usual well-marketed presents, sold by big businesses. But what if we sought out a gift that reflect how a children to sees themselves, like an African-Canadian doll for an African-Canadian child. Or a Latin inspired book that has two languages – english and spanish and highlights latin cultural norms. That’s a gift that recognizes the diverse world around us.
- Whenever a group of mixed race or religious individuals get together in a way that celebrates all of them, it offers each one of them the opportunity to feel more comfortable with others than themselves. And isn’t that a gift?
A man who has worked in many countries with many diverse groups on his teams is Pascal Radue, President & CEO, Hydro Solutions at GE Renewable Energy. In a LinkedIn post he said that the most successful (teams) are always the most open, curious and positive towards each other….They fully understand the benefits of combining and leveraging their differences to turn them into powerful assets. They listen to and embrace new approaches. Read his full article on Linkedin.
The Greatest Gives That Celebrate Diversity No Matter Where You Live
Giving is easy, and these three gives, celebrate and appreciate global diversity, no matter where you are. Celebrating our similarities is important, but understanding and appreciating our differences just as important. Listen, participate and acknowledge our similarities and our unique differences. Listen to others opinions, ideas and how they view the world through their cultural lens. Participate in holidays, important parties, ways of going about the day to understand how and why people do the things they do. Acknowledge others in ways that we may not think about – say good morning to others on the street, compliment clothing, or smile when languages are different. Giving in these basic ways will make our neighbours, cities and global communities happier. The research on happiness and giving shows how easy this is and how effective a simple act of giving can change ourselves and others.