My Monkey Mind-Cultural Differences

monkeys

My monkey mind postings relate to Buddha’s description of the human mind as being filled with drunken monkeys, jumping around, screeching, chattering, and carrying on endlessly. These postings come from my monkey mind.
 
While walking around the town we moved to in the hill country of Texas, I was thinking how different it is culturally from the small gulf coast town where we had been living until recently.  I was recalling  how I had been telling  a young woman there about my mother’s recent move to a nice retirement community.  She had been around my mother and gotten to know her a little.  I could tell that my young friend probably didn’t really know understand the idea of an independent living retirement community, assisted living, or nursing homes.  As with many people in the area we lived, her family roots were in Mexico. 
 
Her reaction reminded me of a presentation I made to a group of people who had recently arrived in Colorado.  One of the not-for-profit agencies offered life skills training to them and I was asked to speak.  Of course nobody told me it was going to be to a group who only understood Spanish.  It was an interesting evening and I learned a lot.
 
Everything had to be translated by their teacher.  She was motivated and capable, so all was well.  It was just a different rhythm than past presentations.  I explained topics such as checking accounts, car insurance, pay slips, insurance, and even investing.  She would then play it back to the group, in Spanish.  She could have said anything, what would I know?  So learning to trust another with my information was the first lesson of the evening.
 
All was going well and the audience seemed to be getting it so I decided to include information about long-term care insurance.  I made my statements and waited for the translation.  When the teacher finished, everyone in the audience started laughing, giggling, and looking at me like I was just a little crazy. There was a big change in the noise level in the room.  The teacher laughed a little too.  I asked her what had made them react that way since the topic never generated that reaction before.  She explained that in their culture nobody goes to retirement or nursing homes, except the nuns.  The elderly are simply a part of the extended family and are cared for by children, grandchildren, and others in the family.  The idea of buying insurance to pay someone to care for them when they were old seemed ridiculous, funny, and clearly a waste of money.  They were entertained, but not impressed.  A first for me.
 
After that evening I would preface my long-term care insurance presentations to acknowledge cultural differences, and then explain the potential value to the customer.  Like I said, I learned a lot that evening. 
 
Until next time.
 
Debra Hadsall
 
 
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