How much do you notice the degree of variety in life and language between varying people groups—north to south, rural to city, ages, occupations, even different spiritual groups?
When I moved to rural West Texas for college, this city girl from the Washington D.C. area encountered considerable culture shock. I still find myself amused and confused at times.
In order to be an effective influencer wherever you live, it is essential to speak the language of your neighbors or ‘audience’. I have a full tank of notions to share on this subject.
For now, though, consider a few West Texas proverbs. Think metaphorically about how Truth remains the same, but word packaging varies. How would you interpret or translate these concepts to someone who doesn’t live in a farming culture? Metaphors from the South:
~Your fences need to be horse-high, pig-tight and bull-strong.
~A bumble bee is considerably faster than a tractor.
~Words that soak into your ears are whispered….not yelled.
~Meanness just don’t jes’ happen overnight.
~Forgive your enemies. It messes up their heads.
~Do not corner something that you know is meaner than you.
~Every path has a few puddles.
~The best sermons are lived, not preached.
~Most people worry about stuff that ain’t never gonna happen anyway.
~When you waller with pigs, expect to get dirty.
~Don’t judge folks by their relatives.
~If you find yourself in a hole, the first thing to do is stop diggin’.
~Sometimes you get, and sometimes you get got.
~Always drink upstream from the herd.
~Lettin’ the cat outta the bag is a whole lot easier than puttin’ it back in.
~If you get to thinkin’ you’re a person of some influence, try orderin’ somebody else’s dog around.
Pay attention to your own idioms and communication patterns. How might you need to change your speech if you were to connect warmly with someone halfway around the world?