Multiculturalism and Time

At the recent LDA conference, I had a fascinating discussion with a Navajo teacher from New Mexico. My husband had worked on the Navajo reservation and told me that they had no word for time in their language. He and I agreed that Seeing My Time, with it’s emphasis on the executive functions of time management and planning, might not make much sense in their world. So I was surprised and intrigued when this woman was drawn to my work.

It turns out that they do have a word related to time, but they don’t think about time the way I do. For me, time is more of a linear concept. I tend to be very future oriented. That point of view comes from my culture. For her people, time is more circular, more cyclical. Each day contains your whole life. To talk about her perception of time required me to somehow open my brain up in a different way, to melt away my own picture of time so that I could see hers. It was a tenuous understanding – beautiful as she described it – yet it slipped away quickly, like the scent of the desert after a bit of rain. I couldn’t hold on to her words, just their essence.

And yet, there she was, buying SMT to help her students who have to interface with the dominate culture’s view of time. Likewise an educator from Bahrain needed to help her people. She will have to translate SMT it into Arabic!  While both of these women come from cultures with different relationships to time, we agreed that time is a gift, not to squander, but to be used consciously and well. I look forward to keeping in touch with both of these educators to see how they adapt SMT into their culture.

We have sold Seeing My Time® books around the world. They have gone to Brazil, Iceland, Singapore, Turkey, Sweden, Japan, Great Britain, France, Australia, Canada, Bahrain, Luxembourg, Germany, Spain, Italy, Mexico, the Netherlands and all across the United States, including now, the Navajo Nation.

SMT was written in response to the needs of those with executive function challenges who live within the United States, with its strong focus on timeliness and productivity. Well, apparently, folks around the planet are now facing our challenges with time and meeting deadlines whether they want to or not.

As I write, I just realized that SMT has begun to reach that totally outrageous goal of mine: to change the world’s relationship with time.

What big outrageous goal do you have?  Go for it!



About the Author Marydee Sklar

Marydee Sklar is the president of Executive Functioning Success and the creator of the Seeing My Time Program®. She is an educator and author of three books on executive functions, as well as a trainer and speaker. Marydee has more than twenty-five years of experience working with students and adults with executive function challenges.

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