Blessed and Highly Favored

There is no better way to understand ourselves than to immerse ourselves in other cultures. I have that opportunity annually as a chaperone for my husband’s High School Model United Nations group when we take them to New York City every March.

This year, our 52 students joined over 2,500 other students from 60 countries for four days of creating a mock United Nations at the National High School Model U.N. conference. Beginning with the opening ceremonies at the New York Midtown Hilton Hotel through the closing ceremonies in the General Assembly at the “real” United Nations, our students engaged in debate, compromise, the creation of resolutions (all of which are sent to the U.N. for consideration), and creating new friendships.

One of the oddities of American culture was highlighted by one of our students, a Dutch boy whose father is teaching this year at the Army War College in our town. His dad spoke to our students a few weeks ago and remarked how strange it was that Americans ask, “How are you?” but don’t wait for a response!

Sometimes we don’t even both answering, or if we do answer we find the person who asked is already long gone. Unlike the Dutch, we frequently don’t listen to the response if there is one. There is no further inquiring. “How are you?” becomes a substitute for “Hi.”

We don’t have to recite a litany of issues we’re working on. But something brief and meaningful can be a means to opening a discussion, to connect with another person. When I’m asked how I’m doing I often answer, “Blessed and highly favored.” That almost always makes the person stop and inquire further. Try it sometime – you’ll be surprised!

Give people in your life a little extra time this week. Receive the gift of time and appreciation others offer to you. We really are all blessed and highly favored. And, when we say so, there really can’t be much of a valid argument.

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