I am an American who is fortunate to have had jobs that allowed me to travel to different countries. Over the past 30 years I’ve been in more than 35 countries in Europe, the Middle East and Asia.
During many of those trips I was able to talk with hundreds if not thousands of people in those countries who represented different parts of the culture, community and workforce, such as company CEO’s, and other executives, managers, engineers, production workers, hotel employees, taxi drivers, waiters and waitresses and others. Many of them were also parents.
From all of those conversations, I learned something that changed my view of the world and its people.
What I realized was pretty simple. It doesn’t matter who we are, where we live, our nationality, level of education, language or culture, most of our life’s goals are all the same. We might express them in different languages, use different cultural norms, but for most of the people who live in this world, we have much in common.
For most American parents, their life’s goal is simple, to ensure their children have a better life than theirs. They want their children to be happier, healthier, better educated and safer. Finally, they want their children’s generation to have the wisdom and the courage to make the world a better place for all of us to live.
From all of those conversations I had with parents from other countries, I realized they want the same for their children that American parents want for theirs. A better life, for them to be healthier, safer, better educated, and to have opportunities. They also want their children to have the wisdom to make the world a better place to live.
Why is this important for all of us to recognize and understand? It’s important because when a group has a common goal, an important goal, barriers and obstacles can disappear. Misunderstanding can be addressed and wrong perceptions go away.
Unfortunately I also realized we are too quick to judge an entire country or culture based on the actions or words of their leaders. While their political leaders may not be like us in their life goals, the people who live in those countries are like us.
Recognizing this is a step in the right direction to begin to resolve our own feelings and our own internal worries. For me it opened up a world I did not know existed. I can now view the people of a country differently than how I viewed their political leaders.
We do have the ability to make the world a better place, one parent, one child and one thought at time, because as parents… we are all the same.