Culture and the Language of Love

Culture plays a very important role in our lives. It shapes our behaviour, thinking, our overall way of life.

Despite opinions in favour or against immigration and its effects on Australian society, employment opportunities etc, the facts cannot be ignored that Australia is a highly multicultural country, of course with a rich Aboriginal culture as its basis.

Being associated with the multicultural community in the capacity of the Vicar and Chaplain at school, and the first-generation migrants myself, I feel like sharing some of my observations.

The migrants carry their culture wherever they go. However, while associating with the culture of the land in which they settle, they struggle to maintain their own culture and customs. The migrants always hear the advice, ‘leave the old culture and adapt to the new since you have come to this country’.

While it is easy to give such advice, it is difficult to follow. That is where most of the children of first-generation migrants suffer from dual identity crises. While there is a legitimate openness in the Western culture, most of the migrants find it the opposite in their own. Discussions about sexuality, different opinions about religious ideas, dressing, and even instructions about body postures while standing, sitting, and eating, can be challenging for them.

While I lead multicultural communities, I have learnt just one thing… even though we all have different ideas and opinions, we have something in common. It is the language of love!!

It is the language of love that we express through small little acts or talks – while picking or dropping up the kids at school, childcare, when we meet at Church on Sundays, or when we go to the supermarket – we exchange a powerful sign that we respect each other and that we are complete in the company of each other!!

The language of love that strikes the similarities between two cultures needs to be spoken loudly through our acts, and support the weaker sisters and brothers in society, and uphold the cause of justice. I noted that most of the migrants who spoke to me voted ‘Yes’ to support the Aboriginal sisters and brothers because they understand their struggles. It was a sign of love for the Aboriginals, and solidarity with them in their struggles.

This is the outcome of deep listening and understanding. Hence, we must continue to use every opportunity to extend hospitality to each other, listen to each other’s stories to add to our wisdom and create role models for the next generation.

God is the God of every generation and every nation.  Let us continue to spread His love and make this world a welcoming place for everyone!!!

This article is used with permission from Zadok Perspectives Multicultural Odysseys and Storms, Autumn 2024. See for subscriptions.

Rev. Dr. Satvasheela Pandhare works as the Chaplain at Hume Anglican Grammar School. She is the Vicar of Hume Anglican Parish. Sheela came to Australia in 2021 to share the Word of God with the multicultural community. Her Doctorate is focused on Social Change in the present India. She is passionate about social justice issues and creating a sense of love and equality among the people she serves. Sheela is married to Rev. Prashant Bhonsle, who is the Parish Minister in the Hume Anglican Parish.

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