Michael Porter

Melanie, I too struggle with missing “those big pieces.”  I do not want to offend somebody and miss the opportunity to provide care for them.  I have found a simple introduction with a smile works for me – “Hi, I’m Mike the Chaplain here and I came by to see how you are doing and if I may help you in any way.”  From there, I leave myself open to hear their story if they invite me to stay.  This is tough when there is a language barrier.

Sometimes I wonder if I am being over conscious to show people I am trying not to be offensive – that I am wanting have a relationship and learn about them.  When I have been at gatherings where people from other cultures (people different from me) are the majority, I have felt a genuine care and respect for me “the outsider.”  I hope I give people the same feeling.  For me, if we begin with treating each other with human decency, the rest will work out.

I agree Jose, “respect goes so much further than getting it perfect”.  For me, trying shows a willingness to learn and have a relationship.  I have only been to Costa Rica and London out side the U.S. and have found people in both places to be more respectful and gracious than Americans.