Almost at the tail end of my stay in India, I was given the opportunity on December 16th by the CM Centre to conduct a Strengths Finder workshop with 20 junior English Literature students from the American College in Madurai, India. I was positively elated at the chance to work within a different culture on a different continent, and the students were absolutely lovely! With 7 guys and 13 gals, the group was curious, engaged, and courageous as they discussed their Strengths and how they could be even further developed.
The assigned group activities were wonderful to witness and partake of the discussions myself. I learned a valuable lesson in language usage and how it differs among cultures – and enjoyed a good laugh as well – when I was interacting with one of the young women about her Responsibility strength, one I share as well. In order to help her gain a deeper understanding of this strength, I asked her, “So, when you commit to a task with your employer or to your professor at school, will you just kill yourself to complete the task in the time period you indicated, no matter what it takes to do so?” The young woman’s eyes widened a bit, and she responded, “Oh, no, ma’am, my religion prohibits it!” Of course, she understood the words “kill yourself” literally and I meant them figuratively to convey vigorous effort.
I also enjoyed a comment during the group session from one of the young men. He was talking about his strength in Ideation and remarked that he believes he “becomes like a God” in his ability to conceptualize ideas. This proud and bold admission made the whole group laugh, of course – but the part that struck me the most is that we were, after all, in India where some 33 million gods are worshipped (according to my fantastic tour guide Jasvir Saurana). Just a chuckle to consider he might in fact be 33,000,001 in the long line of gods!
Here are some photos from the session: