As I continue to ponder and experienced the quagmire of communication both at home and at work there are a couple of truths that have risen to the top of the heap for me.
1. You’ve got to do it. You can’t avoid it forever. You can’t always eat in front of the TV or have “work” to do right up until bedtime. Texting I love you won’t cut it as the only “communication” 2 or more days in a row. You need to take time to talk to those in your immediate family (the ones who live in your home) daily. It’s best if this can be done before you are half asleep and not while you are “zipping” through your favorite show via the wonders of DVR. A really “novel” idea would be to eat supper together and talk about your day! Or Gary and Barb Rosberg of America’s Family Coaches call it “Two Chair Time”. You set aside 20 minutes to talk without phones or the TV or the kids. Touch base on what’s going on and then go on with your day. (I can hear you saying I don’t have 20 minutes to spare. You’d be surprised how much time you save if you actually talk and know what’s going on around you and what is on the calendar before it actually happens!)
2. Here’s the other thing. We need to really listen to one another. My husband and I have a bad habit of jumping in on each others thoughts. Sometimes we’re right – we know where they are going. But lots of times we just think we know what they are trying to say. When you are the listener that is your entire job – listening.(period) Don’t jump ahead to the “solution” or to your own defense, just listen. It sounds so simple as I write it here. However real life proves differently. Often we listen with our own agenda. I’ll listen to him because then he’ll have to listen to me. Or I listen for a minute and then I’m mentally preparing my rebuttal and I miss all the rest of what he said. Really listening is harder than it sounds. I’m convinced it’s caused by a couple of things: we are always looking out for ourselves and we’re in too big of a hurry.
So today let’s try to really listen to the people around us. Seriously spend one day actively listening to the people in your world. Listen to understand what they are saying. If you don’t understand then ask questions until you do! I’d love to hear your thoughts after you have had a day of listening. Share them with us and encourage someone else to give it a try!