The Reason Behind The Key?
From the very beginning the overarching goal of The Key Consulting Firm has been to help others understand the impact of culture on the development of children. This, I believe, will most likely lead to their success in school right through to adulthood.
Since culture is the foundational ideology at The Key Consulting Firm, a post on culture became the very first post I wrote about. At present I would like to expound on the reason I believe culture is so important – important enough for me to base my entire organization and career around it. It all goes way back, so let’s travel on this journey together to understand why I know culture is important.
What is Culture?
So let’s start with a simple definition of culture. Culture is a shared beliefs and values system that impacts a group of people’s day-to-day life (my own definition). Another definition states that culture encompasses customs, achievements, patterns of behavior, and social assumptions of a particular nation, people, or social group.
Whereas most people think of culture as food, dances, and other aspects that we can taste, see, or hear, culture is in effect much deeper than that. Culture is important because it creates assumptions about how the world operates, and those assumptions in turn drive a huge piece of our behavior.
Culture in its essence is dependent on the prior interactions of individuals with their community to create it. Culture does not emerge spontaneously from a vacuum, and so it only makes sense to assume that there are real and clear actions that create it.
I hope you can now see how culture can make or break a group of people. This is especially true of children and the world they grow up in and how it, in turn, determines what kind of adults they become. I also hope you can see my interest in understanding and helping to shape the cultural experiences of our future generations in my work as a school psychologist.
Back in graduate school at Bowie State, I had a professor, Dr. Jennifer West, who likened culture to an iceberg. The things we taste, see, and hear like foods, dances, music, language, clothing, and the list can go on, are all the surface of a culture iceberg.
When you look at an iceberg the surface is pretty small, but the part underwater is typically much larger than the surface of the iceberg. Comparing culture to an iceberg, deep culture is the area which truly makes an impact. Now discussing deep vs. surface culture could take a few more posts, so I’ll just go over why culture, in general, is important.
Deep culture refers to the culture that lives deep within; the feelings, ideas, attitudes, and beliefs that are intangible and cannot be seen.
Elements of deep culture deal with the feelings and attitudes that we learn by being a member of a particular group. It involves the thoughts and beliefs, the personal values, and the subtle gradations of interpersonal relationships as expressed in actions and words, by day-by-day details of life as it is lived.
The values and beliefs of deep culture shape the world in which the child lives. When a baby enters the world they are completely immersed in an established culture. All domains of their development (i.e., cognition, communication, motor, social-emotional, and adaptive) are molded by the environment in which they live.
They continue to learn through their experiences and develop behavior patterns. These experiences influence brain development. These experiences define who they are, and these experiences determine motivation due to the established values. This is why culture is so important, because it impacts everything about who you are.
Want to learn more about culture, read Other People’s Children by Lisa Delpit.
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