Blog - Page 5 of 18 - Margôt Tesch, Writer
March 21, 2015

The Culture of Family

What is your family culture?

It can be hard to ‘see’ the culture within your own family. Why? Because it’s normal. It’s what you grew up with. You are imbibed with it.

Perhaps you might have got an inkling as to your family’s culture when you stayed the weekend with a friend from school. Or better still, when you met your partner’s family for the first time.  Perhaps you may have even been forgiven for thinking that the other family was just that little bit … weird?


Isn’t this because their value systems differ from yours? For example, one family may value punctuality and see it as a manifestation of integrity and reliability. Another family may value spontaneity and see it as being responsive to those in need in a timely manner. Two such values can be quite conflicting.

Another family might value honesty (though we are never really completely honest) but another family might value protecting each other from emotional upheaval as more important.

We value competition in our family and it permeates our reactions to everything that happens. So much so, that I find it hard to imagine a family culture that doesn’t have competition at its core.

Of course all this can become a bit challenging when Person A marries Person B. For the marriage to work successfully, it seems to me that A and B have to make compromises to their value systems. You could call them adjustments. Perhaps this is one reason why the first year of marriage can be so HARD. But if A and B work at it, they end up developing a new value system which is a blend of A and B’s original values. Sometimes the compromises that A and/or B are being asked to make prove too great … and consequently they may decide to separate. That’s fair enough when you think about it, but painful none the less.

The blend of a couple’s two value systems ostensibly turns into a family culture as children appear. All of us work really hard on this, embracing our sense of ‘rightness’ and wanting to raise children with the strength of character we deem important. It’s critical to parenting.

And so the world goes around and generations repeat.

Perhaps if we understood how our value systems differ from our neighbours, might we be just that little bit more tolerant? Love to know what you think.

January 6, 2015

Staying Young

I had the pleasure just before Christmas of having my nephews come to visit, David and Luke. They paid me a treasured compliment. They said I ‘seemed young’. Woo hoo!

It caused me to ponder why that might be. Here are a few thoughts …

Firstly it could be because I’ve come to accept that my generation’s values are different to those of the current generation … not ‘better’. Every generation has unique challenges – pros and cons to being born at that time. There is no better or worse there just is.
(As an aside and if you are interested in this topic, here is a great article Zoë and Mel shared with me recently that puts it all in beautiful context.

Secondly, I recognise that my children can teach me things … that they are quite likely to know more than me on many given topics. It’s my observation that as we age its easier than ever to become dogmatic. C’mon we’ve had decades to try things out and think about things! It’s easy to slip into that sense of superiority that we know things the younger generation don’t. Big mistake. I believe indulging ourselves in this way inhibits our ability to listen to and communicate with them … sets us apart from them and creates the generation gap, I guess.

Thirdly, I’m able to accept my children as young adults with thoughts, perceptions, feelings and conclusions that may be similar to mine or different. Either way is okay. At some point I accepted that they were responsible for themselves (during their teenage years). It wasn’t my job to train them anymore. Of course it is lovely when they come for advice or to talk things over, but in the end I respect the decisions they make in their lives.

Is this why my nephew’s perceived me as ‘young’? I wonder.

Perhaps it’s because I try on some level to embrace some of the emerging thinking and changing cultural values, despite my baby boomer conditioning.

Perhaps it’s all a mix that just comes out as ‘me’.

I’d love to know your thoughts.


Cow-power or Man-power?

We were out moving some heifers last week … trying to give them access to the little feed we have left. I had 60-odd of them grouped under a tree a few metres away from the gate I wanted them to go through.

I moved around as usual on the bike, beeping the horn, trying to encourage them to move off. They just kept looking at me and milling around.

Chris came up a few minutes later on the bike. They responded immediately and took off through the gate … before he had even come right up on them!

What is that? Man-power or some sort of special Cow-power? I don’t know, but I wish I had it.

It actually fascinates me. Is it his expectation that they will move when he arrives? Is it his belief in himself as a competent musterer? How does all that work?

I don’t know, but I wish someone would tell me how I could get it … well I have a bit, but I want more.


October 21, 2014

Viral Advertising

Gone Viral

I had cause to strike up a conversation last week with my son and his wife about viral advertising.

Viral advertising is brand and product advertising cleverly disguised as entertainment. If successful, it is propagated (at no cost to the creator) via social media platforms by often unsuspecting individuals, that is, by people who don’t realise that by sharing the content, they have effectively become the advertising medium.

Below is an example by Coca Cola (and yes, it pains me to share it, even to demonstrate my point … aaaarrgh!). It’s a 2 minute video.

In our conversation, I expressed my reaction when someone sends me such a link. I might look at it but once I realise it’s viral advertising, I stop and delete it. I very rarely, almost NEVER pass it on or share it.

They were really surprised as they felt it quite natural to share something funny or clever regardless that it was promoting a brand. They felt they might even want to support and promote a brand they liked. I listened openly as I always do, trying to understand and appreciate the changing values of the younger generation.

But I had cause for reflection. My concern is around the attempted invisibility of the advertising, the cloaking of consumerism as entertainment. The clever fairly seamless distribution, engaging willful actions of a public largely unaware of the impact of their actions. It makes me feel uneasy.

Is it really that harmful? Where is it leading us? Does it empower corporations to infiltrate our everyday life in ways we never imagined before? Or is it simply a mechanism to affirm the brand commitments we already hold for goods and services we want to avail ourselves of anyway?

Love to hear what you think?

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