Our Stories, Roots of Understanding™
For people of various heritages,
cultures, and backgrounds
Powerful Interactive Seminar by Communication
Specialist Dr. Dolly Haik-Adams Berthelot ©2002
diverse people communicate about real experience,
miracles can happen. Stories are key.
generalizations may prompt yawns, and fierce
opinions may merely stir controversy. In contrast,
sharing real life experiences, true stories, humanizes
the teller and brings his or her family, heritage,
and culture to life. This makes each person's reality
both accessible and authentic for others who may
be--or who may think themselves--different. Such sharing
can foster mutual appreciation for rich diversity
and, paradoxically, forge bonds of commonality--across
various ethnicities, ages, backgrounds, beliefs,
lifestyles, and other human differences.
Dolly's "Roots of Understanding™"
and her longer "CommUNITY Dialogues™"
process help participants explore and share in a
safe, stimulating environment. Participants reflect,
recall, reveal (as they choose), and learn about
themselves; they listen and learn about others.
One black person tells how being called "Nigger"
in childhood pushed him through college but
left scars into middle age. A priest from Jamaica
notes how different he feels from African Americans,
less angry, too, because he chose to come here.
An African American woman reared by physician parents
in New Orleans turns stereotypes topsy-turvy by
describing her social debut. A white factory worker
tells what it felt like to lose his job to black
men and to women. A native Louisianan admits that
traveling the world helped her see her roots and
her region with a fresh eye, both critical and appreciative.
German-American shares the pain of "guilt by
association" with Hitler and the holocaust
while admiring her devoted, hardworking single parent
grandma (see Dr. Dolly's "German Gift"
from her memoirs in progress). An American Jew,
a natural storyteller, manages to make everyone
laugh even while personalizing the unspeakable holocaust
horrors his family have endured. In amusing, provocative
mini-stories, a writer portrays her Italian-American
kinfolks that are so like HBO's "Sopranos,"
and yet so different.
person talks bitterly about the domination of his
father's Catholic faith; another shows how that
same faith has bolstered her spirit and shaped her
success. A Pentecostal teacher explains why she
looks as she does, in spite of taunts. An atheist
shows how his perspective has actually helped him
make ethical decisions. They find a common passion
Americans with family roots in various parts of
Asia compare notes on the tensions between their
parents' "old ways" and their own urge
to be fully American. A Japanese-American businessman's
parents were interned in the U.S. during WWII (see
also Sharing WWII Experiences);
a naturalized Vietnamese citizen fled his home with
only a sack of basics and a heart of fear and hope;
a 3rd generation Chinese woman admits she still
feels alien; a Taiwanese-American's scholarship
to Columbia gave him a future greater than his dreams.
Egyptian pilot reveals how September 11 has shattered
his life, his dreams, his future. He grieves for
our country, even as his looks prompt distrust in
some Americans. A genealogist whose grandparents
emigrated from Lebanon, a professor with ancestors
from Iran, and a Jewish grandmother share sadness
that Mid-East turmoil discourages them from exploring
their roots in person. (See Roots of Understanding™
especially for Americans of
holiday traditions uncovers fascinating differences
and poignant similarities.
the group has conjured up memories, shared stories,
and listened to the vivid tales of others, they
each understand themselves, their culture, other
participants--and therefore other people--a little
better. They are more aware of faulty assumptions
and biases, more proud of their own heritage, paradoxically,
as they become more appreciative of others. Everyone
wins. They leave enriched, inspired, enlightened...
have gained fresh perspective and examined rich,
revealing stories which, when written, will humanize
the vital but too often dry facts of family history
multi-cultural, multi-ethnic, multi-religious, multi-lifestyle
interactions may stand alone in a 3-hour to
5-day session or be part of Dr. Dolly's "CommUNITY
Dialogues™, Communicating to Create Unity
in Diversity," a transformative, in-depth
group process which may be activated in your community
for up to a year.
of Understanding™ participants may also build
on this interactive experience by taking other Mine
Your Memories™, Share Your Stories, Write Your
Life courses; enjoy private consultation and guidance
from Dr. Dolly; write down their rich experiences
themselves; or have Dr. Dolly interview them and
write for them. See A Pro Will
Write for You. Whichever approach is taken,
writing assures that these valuable stories are
preserved; this multiplies the benefits for individuals
and benefits for groups.
services are fully guaranteed to your satisfaction.
Your Memories™ is created by Dr. Dolly Berthelot
professional writer, editor, communication consultant, author.
Email Now: firstname.lastname@example.org.