Friday, July 15, 2011

Culturally Different, Identically the Same - How a book changed a misconception.

I have a very small lending library... emphasis on very... ...and emphasis on small. The books are few, but the topics are concentrated, dealing primarily with the marriage relationship, parenting children, and a few other miscellaneous topics, from a woman’s point of view. Taking those tight parameters into perspective, it’s a pretty good library after all.

While teaching the woman’s certificate course in the Bible Institute, I require my students to read one book of their choosing and give a written and oral report each term (3 per year). The ladies often check-out more books but focus on one for their reports. Keeping in mind that English is not their first language, I believe the ladies do an outstanding job of reading and reporting on the books of their choosing. The following is one such report.

Juliet read, What Wives Wish Their Husbands Knew About Women, written by Dr. James Dobson.
Juliet wrote (copied as it was written):

"When first I saw this book in my friend’s library I thought it was supposed to be read by men because women have needs which men don’t understand, then after reading it I realized is should read by both but I still believe husbands should read this book or a teacher some how hold a seminar for the husbands. The book has helped me to understand that not only in America but here in Kenya wives go through emotional depression throughout their married life. Another thing is house work or housewife is viewed like nothing or no job both there or here."

"I learned that sources of depression in women are many and yet sometimes I think is just Juliet going through this. From suffering low-esteem, time pressure, financial difficulties, loneliness, isolation and menstrual and physiological problems just to name a few, all these are emotional struggles we struggle with. I have learned a lot from this book, from the interviews the author did with his patients as their counselor. They are very encouraging to me just to read another wife / mother share her heart to mine."

"I have learned that I can’t change my husband except God’s spirit in him, but I can change myself and work to be the best wife / mother, express my feelings as facts not as emotions and serve the Lord through him. I can only change what I can and that is me. The book has helped me to understand because of our menstrual circle which women have it affects their mood. Children also is another type of depression in women and yet in Kenya if the children don’t succeed or they turn rebellious people ask who is their mother or they are like their mother. This can take a woman to an early grave."

"Finally to be honest I wish husbands knew about the needs of their wives."

Juliet revealed, through her report and a personal conversation that followed, Kenyan women often think American (and European) women live a life that is very different from theirs. In short, America is the place where dreams come true, therefore, women of America have a wonderful, stress-free, easy life... nothing like the life Kenyan women have. Juliet discovered that though our daily activities are different, our emotional needs are identical.

Thank you for taking the time to read my post, your questions and comments are welcomed.


Anonymous said...

I enjoyed reading this post and "hearing" from one of your Kenyan students. Your title for this post is very appropriate. -

Anonymous said...

Thank you for your comment. (posted by Jane Coley)