Blog taken from old Ology website written 05/10/2019.
Early childhood professionals and parents have beliefs, values, and attitudes that inform their behaviour and influence how they raise or guide children’s behaviour.
These individuals together form a group culture of BVAB. When all individuals document this as a shared vision in an early childhood service it is known as their philosophy. Best practice the philosophy informs practices.
Our BVAB is our identity and can become the norms of the group. It can be challenging to support all cultures’ views at the same time. Listening to our self-talk to find win:win solutions when feel challenged through conversation and critical reflection can be helpful. We need to be open-minded and empathetic to try and understand different perspectives. Challenging our BVAB may be judgemental, biased, disrespectful, or stereotyping.
Change is difficult and Stemmet (2017) discusses how in his research he has found it is easier to change our behaviour before attitude rather than the other way round.
Do you have any attitudes or behaviours you would like to change to be more culturally supportive?
How does your service perform together to be culturally inclusive, for belonging, being, and becoming?
Let’s take our BVAB and think about the word ‘thank you’! Many cultures have different BVAB.
If the article sparks a BVAB change I would love to hear your ideas. Tom Hanks would say ‘Thanks in advance’ but he knows that in some cultures saying this before the task is delivered is seen as being arrogant because it is seen as an expectation.
Some countries use the word ‘thank you’ as a linguistic response to someone else’s action to show gratitude and respect.
How does your team express gratitude with each other and children?
- not all cultures have a word for thank you in their language,
- some cultures have the word find it rude if it is used between people in a close relationship,
- some countries use other words for showing gratitude.
Floyd et al., gives the following example from Murrinh-patha an Australian Aboriginal language spoken by the Jaminjung People, in the Northern Territory when a child is asked to direct an object someone else they say;
Yukuy murruwurlnyima (That’s right, you’re beautiful)
According to Layous and Lyubomirsky (2014) children need to ascertain and master certain stages of development before they have an understanding of and can be ‘taught’ gratitude. For example understanding emotions, empathy and perspective taking first.
Are we enforcing our BVAB on children or are we helping children to understand through role modeling and discussion based on our service philosophy?
As a child, did you ever have one of those aunties (significant other) in your life that offers you a cup of water and you are so parched you reach out to take it dreaming of how it is going to quench your thirst? Your hand is on the cup and she doesn’t let go until you say thank you, and she repeats the question over and over and says to you “What do you say?”, she will not release that cup until you say the ‘magic words’. With emotions that don’t display gratefulness, you say ‘Thankyou’ with a robot-like monotone voice repeating it with anger or anxiety. You may even grab the cup or run away intimidated by the demand put on you.
…or did you have the aunty that looks from a different perspective and sees you running outside playing a game of chase outside. She pours an icy cold cup of water for you and hands it to you with a smile and says you must be thirsty. You take the cup and you smile back in appreciation and guzzle the water quenching your thirst like you have just made it out of the desert oasis.
After spending time with each of your aunties;
- Which one has been a role model that has supported your needs?
- Which one has role modelled doing for others, grattitude and appreciation?
- Which one do you decide to spend more time with and build the realtionship with further?
- Which one do you want to be more like?
- Which one met your needs?
Maslows Hierarchy of Needs
Imagine you are on the Ellen Show it is giveaway time because she knows you have been struggling financially and challenged with adversity. She can see how overjoyed you are and appreciative of the gifts she just gave you. You become speechless and start crying as you are full of emotion. Then imagine Ellen ignored your emotional reaction of gratitude and said “Wait a minute stop the show, and she says “You need to say the magic words.” You can’t have the gift until you say it”. What would you think of Ellen for making you say thank you?
There have been children in my life who express such gratitude when being given a gift by telling someone what they like about the gift when they open it. They both share in the moment joyfully. I have seen other children pushed to say the word and yet still don’t understand and still don’t express gratitude.
Image source: https://www.activefamilymag.com/gift-giving-and-the-thankless-child/
What if we didn’t enforce the words and instead supported children to understand their own emotions and the emotions of others? What if we taught them how to be empathetic and grateful and then if they don’t say thank you perhaps stand back and observe their emotional and social development to see other necessary skills or attributes. What are you teaching with our BVAB?
Research shows that being grateful can support a healthy wellbeing and increase our wisdom. How can you support a child to be grateful?
Sources: Boehm, J. K., Lyubomirsky, S., & Sheldon, K. M. (2011). A longitudinal experimental study comparing the effectiveness of happiness-enhancing strategies in Anglo Americans and Asian Americans. Cognition and Emotion, 25(7), 1263–1272. https://doi.org/10.1080/02699931.2010.541227
Floyd, S., Rossi, G., Baranova, J., Blythe, J., Dingemanse, M., Kendrick, K. H., … Enfield, N. J. (2018). Universals and cultural diversity in the expression of gratitude. Royal Society Open Science, 5(5), 180391. https://doi.org/10.1098/rsos.18039. retrieved 04/10/2019.
Howells, K. (2014). An exploration of the role of gratitude in enhancing teacher-student relationships. Teaching And Teacher Education, 42, 58–67. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.tate.2014.04.004 retrieved 04/10/2019.
König, S., & Glück, J. (2014). “Gratitude Is With Me All the Time”: How Gratitude Relates to Wisdom. Journals of Gerontology Series B: Psychological Sciences and Social Sciences, 69(5), 655–666. https://doi.org/10.1093/geronb/gbt123Layous, K., & Lyubomirsky, S. (2014). Benefits, Mechanisms, and New Directions for Teaching Gratitude to Children. School Psychology Review, 43(2), 153–159. Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com/docview/1634478733/ retrieved 04/10/2019.
Park, H. S., & Lee, H. E. (2012). Cultural Differences in “Thank You” Journal of Language and Social Psychology, 31(2), 138–156. https://doi.org/10.1177/0261927X12438536
Stemmet, L. (2017) Change Your Brain and Resilience, TEDx, Manukau Institute of Technology, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q7XE9pYnC5E&t=914s.