We watch Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution. We love this new show (2 episodes so far) where a famous chef from the U.K. comes to the most obese city in USA with hopes to transform the food culture of the people. He cares about their health and the health of the USA and hopes a revolution is starting there in Huntington, WV.
As someone who leads groups around the world on various types of “missions,” I thought I’d share 10 things I see in the show that can teach us about serving cross-culturally:
1. Be passionate about what you’re doing, or don’t go. It can be way too tough to face whatever you’ll face if your heart isn’t 100% in it. (The radio station host and some of the lunch ladies aren’t so welcoming.)
2. Show respect to the culture you’re visiting. You are in fact, an outsider. Listen, observe and keep an open mind about things. Jamie gets flak from people who think he doesn’t respect them. The only ones who listen are the ones who feel respected.
3. Connect with a local church. As someone who loves Jesus, I like this idea anyway for everyone, everywhere. In the show (episode 1), I love how he connects with a local pastor. Jamie doesn’t speak of his faith, but realizes the church cares about people in the community. The pastor is a fabulous resource and ally.
4. Look for local resources. Jamie looks around to see what’s available locally. What people get what he’s doing? Potential partners? Food sources? Especially when doing development work (I guess most types of international work), using local resources is a key!
5. Don’t assume everyone will automatically agree with this good news you’re sharing. Actually, it looks like Jamie thought he might have more agreement than he’s received the first two episodes. He believes in what he’s sharing and he knows it’s true…shouldn’t everyone immediately jump on board? Whether sharing faith or medical information or the value of good education, perhaps not everyone will get or even care about what feeds your passion.
6. Be flexible with ways to share your core values. Throughout the show, Jamie doesn’t change what he believes, but he works at finding the most effective way get the point across. If what he’s trying doesn’t work, he’s willing to alter the method (i.e. various school lunch menus and teaching methods.)
7. It’s not just about the masses, it’s about the individual. He obviously cares deeply about an obese and struggling family with whom he connects. He spends a lot of time with them, studies their diet, speaks truth to them, and shows compassion with their hurts and frustrations.
8. Don’t be afraid to speak truth, even if it’s hard to share. He speaks truth after he’s built relationships and has a window to do so. People don’t always like to hear him, but it’s making an impact.
9. Have fun with what you’re doing. He finds a way to enjoy the journey and laugh, even when things are tough.
10. Care for the people regardless of whether or not they listen to you. The show is just starting and we don’t know how each of the individuals will react to what he’s sharing. He seems invested in what he’s doing, and I hope he’ll continue caring for the people regardless of how they ultimately decide to apply what he’s telling them. If he’s just showing concern so they’ll believe him and change, it’s manipulation. People are worth more than having to endure manipulation.
There’s my top 10 list. What would you add or change? Are there shows that have taught you cross-cultural lessons?