Today, I'm thinking about communication. In our world today, how we communicate with one another and how we navigate TALKING through relationships, challenges, problems, and disagreements is certainly the source of so many problems, and so many heartaches.
Yesterday, I took the day off to spend with my oldest stepson at his soccer tournament. He's a relatively gifted athlete for age ten, but he lacks a certain killer instinct to match his abilities. For years, we have tried to get through to him to "be more aggressive." I've watched as his coaches and his parents have tried to spark that in him, and I've tried to spark it in him myself. To literally, no avail.
Yesterday on our drive to Kansas City, we had a long conversation about what "being aggressive" meant to him. I learned that what he was hearing and what we were trying to get through were not aligned in the least. In fact, I think what we were saying could quite have been having the opposite effect.
We spent quite some time in deep conversation, and I spent most of the time LISTENING, and attempting to reframe his story by asking him questions - both to further understand him myself, but to get him to understand and trust HIMSELF too.
The result was fantastic - he played wonderfully, was incredibly aggressive, and seemed to really get the concept of what we were all trying to teach.
What I learned - and what I wanted to share with you - is that how WE communicate with others is only effective if we communicate in the way the other party NEEDS to hear it. We all hear things differently, we all need different things in conversation. When I stopped what I wanted to say and met my stepson where HE needed me to, we had huge breakthrough.
I've had many communication breakdowns in the last week - so many. And this week, I'll spend a significant amount of time cleaning up the messes made from those miscommunications. I'm going to take this lesson I learned from K, and apply it to my cleanup act this week. I'm going to listen more and talk less, I'm going to acknowledge the differences between me and others, and communicate to them in the way they need me to so my messages may be heard. I want my true intentions in conversation to shine through, and when I only speak with MYSELF in mind, I usually fail.
I wonder what would happen, right now, TODAY, if everyone started considering the person with whom they wished to communicate, and what might work best for THE OTHER PERSON in that situation. I'm guessing we'd see many of our problems just fall away. I'm guessing we'd understand one another more clearly, and have the opportunity to use our differences to our advantage. I'm guessing we could make some real change.