Aha, an inspirational moment that I could not deny!
Having been a x-ray technologist for decades, I can be heard making the claim ‘once a radiographer, always a photographer’! My role has always been staging reluctant family members into just the right pose, very similar to positioning patients for the perfect medical image. Often, my husband and I will pick a place, pack our camera gear and away we go to seek that one special photo.
This day with our special 7 year old, we could not travel too far. Each of us had our camera in hand as we walked to the village and a nearby park. Along the way, we often stopped to take a photo of something that caught our attention.
When we returned home, each camera’s memory card was inserted into our big screen TV. We watched each picture cycle through. We oooh’d and ahh’d at our masterpieces and also talked about how to improve those pictures that were ‘not so good’. What we discovered was that often that ‘thing’-perhaps it was the waterfall, the garden, or the landmark-captured each of our imaginations differently. Each of us captured the image of the same item but each photo was unique. Each of us photographed the same bridge, creek, and landmark, but with a different angle, camera and perspective. Truly, the object of interest was subject to the eye of the beholder. Similar yes, but each was exceptional and distinctive.
When we are accompanied by others doing the same job or activity, the task may be similar. However, the results may be very different as each person directs their eyes and attention to ‘that thing’ that commands their attention. Give pause and acknowledge that perspective gained from both life experiences and life inexperience, can change the outcome. Making prime connections with others is often easier when one is slow to judge and quick to accept a different interpretation, which is truly is in the ‘eye or the heart of the beholder’.
As I think about our individual works of art though photography, it was our prime connection to each other and the ability to trust one another that allowed vulnerability to become learners, give and accept constructive criticism, offer and receive advice, and sometimes, accept the decision to discard the image all together. Our collection of photos and our memories from the day’s activities will always speak to the quality of the connection we have to each other.
A symposium of Indonesian visitors were our guests this week at Rochester Women’s Network. The purpose of their visit was to gather information to improve their own business practices through dialog with American citizens and business organizations.
Not all spoke English. Two ‘prime-connectors’ served as interpreters. Each translator took turns at various intervals throughout the meeting. One interpreter took notes in an attempt to translate verbatim. She would stop to clarify and then relay the communication. The other, did not. The female interpreter asked one English speaker to ‘please slow down’ so she could be more effective. It was her partner’s turn to translate when a slang American term was referenced. The male interpreter kept on speaking into his machine, without hesitation. Apparently, our guests understood because laughter prevailed. When I asked the translator, how he decoded the funny phrase, the woman answered. Perhaps the male interpreter was more skilled or perhaps the woman was able to read his mind. Maybe she was a quicker responder. Maybe I had asked a very common question. Nevertheless, the woman said, “We work around slang”. But my question was, ‘How did you interpret that phrase?” I wanted to know verbatim. Another question was asked elsewhere, and so, we moved on. I never received the exact wording.
We all have times in our lives when we need an interpreter. I call these experiences ‘culture crossings’. ‘Culture crossings’ occur during those times when advice is needed outside of our own wheelhouse or we are facing a new challenge. We look for a ‘prime-connector’ who will interpret for us-to bridge the gap in our own understanding. Depending on our own experience, the skill-set of that interpreter is critical to our well-being, especially if we need details or an extensive plan. At times, we prefer to allow someone to read our minds and respond from their own experience.
Take a few mental notes as to how you receive information and how you interpret the steady stream of incoming messages. Who are your ‘prime-connectors’? How are both you and your ‘prime-connectors’ supplying feed-back? Become more aware of who is speaking for you. What they are saying and what is being interpreted?
The challenge is choosing the proper ‘prime-connector’ at critical junctions and also choosing to become the ‘prime-connector’ for others by slowing down the conversation and asking clarifying questions. Revisit conversations to correct areas of misunderstanding. Don’t move on until appropriate and sufficient understanding is reached.