Doctor of Leadership in Global Perspectives: Crafting Ministry in an Interconnected World

Two eyes, Two ears, One Mouth….

Written by: on November 22, 2022

When I grew up my North Star in my family to me was my grandfather. I was extremely lucky in that I got to spend a lot of time with him. I always knew he was different than everyone else in my family and his demeanor was extremely alluring to me. It wasn’t until I was about 7-8 that I figured out why. That hot summer day, instead of working on the farm he took me to his mother in the nursing home and told me about his heritage. That day even as a young girl I knew was a special day. My grandfather was a first generation American. Both of his parents came to the United States from Norway. The path to the American dream was not an easy one. His family was tenacious, with a strong family tie to each other. He personally loved working very hard throughout the week, and resting on Sunday. He was one of the most giving people I have ever met, and he cared deeply for people. What I noticed though was that he cared deeply for all people which was always refreshing. One of my favorite qualities of him was that he was slow to speak. He was always listening though! You knew that when he spoke, you needed to listen because he was always careful with his words. Lastly my papa was genuinely happy with a smile that would melt you in your path.

When reading Meyers book, and watching her video that was assigned I couldn’t help but correlate how it was to grow up with someone of a different inherent culture than Americans.While he was born here, his core stood with his parents values. I don’t think that I realized until today all of the facets or dimensions that encompassed his culture to those around me. I then went down a rabbit hole of comparing my grandfather and his Norwegian heritage. Here is what I found:

  • Norwegians love to be outside. (1)
  • “Norwegians work to live and Americans live to work.” (2)
  • They are some of the happiest people. (3)
  • They do not talk a lot. “There is no pressure to start or keep a conversation going. It, therefore, means that when you are hanging out with Norwegians, you don’t have to feel like you’re supposed to fill moments of silence with conversation. Silence is normal.” (4)
  • They are kind… below is a picture of a garden in Norway where they leave all the apples on the fence instead of on the ground to rot. (5)

I took it a step further though and purchased access to Meyers website so that I could compare myself to different cultures. It was interesting to me that my values and beliefs (marked in black) both aligned with the U.S. and Norway equally. <The UK is solely on the image below because I was referencing my husbands families culture with mine.>

US: Communicating, Leading, Deciding, Disagreeing

Norway: Evaluating, Trusting, Scheduling, Persuading


I also took it one more step further to evaluate all of the cultures that I work with on a weekly basis. This to me was mind blowing! While most interactions are within the United States, we have weekly chats with Dr. Clark from the UK, I also have a lovely woman that works with me from Mexico, and our nonprofit works directly with Nepal. When you combine all of the cultures that I personally navigate weekly its really a miracle that I navigate it at all now knowing what Meyers taught us. When I saw the chart below along with part of the speech that Meyers gave Genesis 11:1-9 came to mind. The earth was all one language – and then God dispersed and confused every language. God is in every detail. While he could have just simply changed words… he changed everything. Looking at the chart below along with part of the video in the speech that Meyers gave, Genesis 11:1-9 came to mind simultaneously. The earth was all one language – and then God dispersed and confused every language on this earth. God is in every single detail and both the depth and complexity of his work cannot possibly be fully comprehended. While he could have just simply changed the peoples words… he changed every facet of what Meyers was discussing to the ultimate degree. All of this to become one giant puzzle that only he could begin to put back together.

Last I will leave you with one of my favorite quotes from Meyer, “As an adult I fell deeply in love with the thrill of being surrounded by people who see the world dramatically different than me.” (6) I have always said that I was born in the wrong country but I know that God doesn’t make mistakes… This quote reframed my dismay of being in the wrong country. I wonder if maybe I just really “enjoy being surrounded by people who see the world dramatically different than me.” (6)



(1) “Norway: Exploring Norwegian Culture | AFS-USA.” Accessed November 23, 2022. https://www.afsusa.org/countries/norway/.

(2) Starr, Megan. “26 Things I Learned about Norwegian People after Living in Norway.” Megan & Aram | Travel Blog. Megan & Aram | Travel Blog, November 1, 2022. Last modified November 1, 2022. Accessed November 22, 2022. https://www.meganstarr.com/norwegian-people/.

(3) (4) Blake, Author. “16 Things to Know about Norwegian People.” ViaTravelers. Last modified October 27, 2022. https://viatravelers.com/norwegian-people/.

(5) Sadownictwo.com.pl. (2018, September 30). Jabłka Wywieszone na płocie. sadownictwo.com.pl. https://www.sadownictwo.com.pl/jablka-wywieszone-na-plocie

(6) Meyer, E. (n.d.). In The culture map. introduction, PublicAffairs.

About the Author

Alana Hayes

Alana is a mother to four beautiful children and wife to a farmer in Texas. She is an avid world traveler with a heart for both the world and education. She is the president of the nonprofit Against the Grain Texas where they focus on providing education to children overseas and at risk adults in the states. To date the nonprofit has given almost $100,000 to individuals around the world. In her free time she loves spending meaningful time with people and reading to further her personal education.

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