The U.S. Can Learn a Few Things

Author: sethskim  |  Category: Values, Viewpoint

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The world is changing; and it is changing at rapid speeds. When it comes to global issues such as the military, healthcare, environmental concerns, the economy, and etc. the United States has always led the way and the discussions. But the winds are slowly changing and it seems as if other developing countries are taking the lead.

This reminds us that the United States can no longer take the attitude of superiority when it comes to global engagement. In fact, the United States has a lot to learn from the other global leaders and countries. There is definitely a shift that is occurring and we, from the States need to pay attention.

Recently, in Time’s website, they had an article entitled, “Five Things the U.S. Can Learn from China.” I thought it was a very interesting article written by Bill Powell, who correctly observes the appropriate trends that are occurring around the world.

The part that I found the most fascinating in light of this whole healthcare debate is the need to care for the elderly. In Asian cultures (and most cultures outside of the Western mindset), people’s view of the elderly is far different from the States. There is a sense of honor and responsibility when it comes to taking care of the elderly, especially when they are your parents. This idea of “parents raising children and then the children care for the parents later in life” has been the social norm for centuries in Asian countries.

Even having at least three generations living under one roof has been expected and normal. When you listen to the pros and cons of having three generations living in the same house, for some reason the argument seems to lean towards the advocates of the three generation household. Of course, if you have difficult in-laws, it might be a different story :-)

One caveat to this whole article is that America was founded and built on some of the same principles that are being touted as things that America needs to learn from China. Therefore, there are several things to consider:

1) Keep on learning from people who have gone before you. God has prospered America in tremendous ways. Even though American history is not long compared to some of the other countries around the world, it has far surpassed countries in terms of development and prosperity. There are things that developing countries can learn from the States (both from the successes, as well as the failures). It always takes a humble posture to learn from others.

2) Keep on collaborating with others. When people get into an isolation mindset, it closes off opportunities for engagement. It is critical in this new age of globalization that countries learn from one another and even collaborate together on ideas and projects.

3) Keep on leading by example. It is easy to talk a good talk, but influence will continue to grow when we are able to produce some fruit from the things that we are promoting. There will be many things that will be done differently from one culture to another, but people will be open-minded to things when they see the positive results. We have to remember the words of Jerry Maguire – “Show me the money!” For those of you who did not see the movie here is the translation: “Stop talking about it, just show me the results).

This opens up some parallel discussions about the Church. As I have been out here in Indonesia, I am realizing that the churches in the States have a lot to learn from churches around the world. No longer is the American church leading the way (at least not in everything). There are many incredible churches around the world that are making a huge Kingdom impact.

As we take on a humble posture and learn from what God is doing in the different parts of the world, it might just be a catalyst for the churches in the States to experience greater things.