The idea that the absence of meaningful, community-based rituals within life transitions is a problem for American Society proposed by Blumenkrantz & Goldstein (2010) is definitely an interesting theory. I don’t know that I would agree that this absence of community-based rituals presents a problem for the healthy development of the Global Community. My thought process being, that in the communities that we do still see a strong presence of community-based rituals, it drives a wedge between them. We have struggled so much in the past with accepting these kinds of differences culturally, and religiously. If we were striving for a Global community, then I feel that if we were to have “community” rituals, it would be making a step in the wrong direction, if we are striving for a “global” community as the end product. I feel that teaching the young minds of Americans about a rite of passage, and what it entails would serve a better purpose, and help create a more accepting attitude towards cultural differences, and therefore taking a step closer to creating a global community, in my opinion. Doing this, would create a frame, or a lens to look at these foreign cultural rites of passage through, so that it was easier to understand, and possibly viewed less judgmentally.
Personal challenge may very well be the potential theme of my digital story as well as one of elements of rites of passage from this weeks reading. In the reading it defines adversity or personal challenge as, “…Experiences that challenge the individual emotionally and/or physically and which present opportunities to learn new values and/or skills.” This couldn’t be truer for my experience abroad. I had learned to enjoy a challenge and welcome them as an opportunity for growth about a year ago. But being abroad had really put that new found understanding to the extreme test. The biggest challenge I think was facing my experience totally on my own, without even other American students to relate too, but the amount of personal growth it allowed for was incredible and I am so thankful for it.
Another would be Time for Personal Reflection, which they defined as “time intentionally set aside for a person to reflect on his/her personal values, actions and beliefs.” Being alone all the time created a massive amount of time for personal reflection, mostly reflection on the challenges I was facing. In this reflection is where most of my growth happened looking back on it.
Silence would have to be the third important piece in my time abroad. It is explained in this reading well, “Children and youth grow up in a cacophony of sound that makes the “call to adventure,” the internal alarm clock awakening them to the coming of age process almost inaudible. Silence helps a young person develop an internal dialogue for narrating and making sense of what is going on around them.” I really could not have said it better myself. My “silence” may not have been dead quiet per- say, but it was the silence of my life back in the States. The physical distance I had from home, allowed for an emotional and mental distance to take place, and this allowed me to step back and focus on me, look at my personal challenges, that I was facing now and had faced in the past, and whole-heartedly reflect on them.
Of the digital stories that I watched, I think the one that connected the most with was Rachel’s. The obvious reason being that we both studied in Paris, but more so that we both experienced a great deal of personal growth. I also thought it was interesting how much time she spent talking with her neighbor who was an elderly woman, and how much time I spent talking to my home-stay Madame, which sounds like they were about the same age, and had similar conversations. I think this was a very successful digital story because she very creatively conveyed her personal development, it was done concisely and yet was still very interesting because of how she used the change of seasons as a metaphor.