Tuesday, July 20, 2010

I Hear You Loud But Not Clear

All of our lives are going at such an incredible pace that we barely have time to really pay attention to the details of our conversations with others. We hear what they are saying but we don’t take the time to listen to the message they are trying to convey. When I was a kid, I remember hearing my dad complain that I was hearing what he was saying but not listening. Listening to what people are saying is really somewhat of an art and takes a tremendous amount of focus and interest as to what the message is that is trying to be conveyed. It is also very important for the listener to have an open and trusting mind as to what the other person is saying. Here are some very basic examples of what is being said, what is being heard and what is trying to be conveyed. (They may not apply to you but you should get the point)

1. Said: “You always come home late from work”.

Heard: “You must be having fun or prefer being away”.

Message: “We love having you around and worry when you’re not here”.

2. Said: “I do everything around here and it would be nice to get some help”.

Heard: “ You are lazy and do nothing all day”.

Message: “Your interest, help and support, makes my workload easier to deal with”.

3. Said: “Mom/Dad, how come you always have to go to ________ with your friend".

Heard: “You’re a bad mom/dad and don’t deserve time for yourself”.

Message: “Sometimes I feel like you prefer being with your friends over me, can you reassure me that you love me and that I am important to you”.

4. Said: “I remember when we use to go to the park and throw Frisbee, that was fun”.

Heard: “I like reminiscing about going to the park and Frisbee throwing”.

Message: “I like spending time with you, can we do something together again”.

These are just a few examples, of some typical situations but every conversation is full of what is said, what is heard and what the real message trying to be conveyed is. Sometimes, even the person conveying the message, isn’t aware of what they are truly trying to convey becuase they get lost in fear and anger while trying to convey their message. In our conversations with people today, see if we can tell the difference between what people are saying and what their message is. I think you will find it to be extremely interesting, how easy it is to pick up on, if you take the time to “listen”.


Anonymous said...

This is a great post Alex! Sometimes we either tend to read too much into conversations and end up jumping to conclusions or we just zone out when others are talking to us and miss out on the opportunity to listen to what others have to say, possibly even helping them in some way. I know I am guilty of both of these things. Need to put in that extra effort.....Thanks!

Alex said...

Hi Diana,

Nice to see you posting. I always enjoy what you add

Mary L said...

I encountered something this morning that made me think of this post. It's a perfect example and it happens to me every weekend.
One or both of my big kids will see me and the first thing they say is :
"Mom, what are we doing today?"

I hear, "Mom, I'm sure whatever we are doing today is totally lame and all our friends have much more fun and interesting things to do on the weekend. So we're probably just staying home, AGAIN, today, right?"

So what are they actually saying? I find it tough to not jump to a defensive response whenever I hear the phrase: what are we doing today?

Alex said...

What they are truly saying is, we want t obe stimulated and challenged today. You might think it is optomistic of me to say that but the reality is that's what they are saying. The challenge is to do that in a way that doesnt involve tons of money and time. If you can find something simple that challenges and stimulates them, you will see how the rest takes care of itself. It could be something as simple as saying "today is going to be sculpture day. Go upstairs and put on your oldest t shirts and come back down stairs. As they run off, you prepare a table and pull out some Playdoh. Once they sit out the table let them pick paper out of a hat. On each paper have a different animal that they must create. As the process unfolds, take pictures and make it fun for them. Once they are done put them out on a shelf for display or take more pictures and post them on facebook for the mto see how proud of them you are.
There are many other ideas, backyard treasure hunts, cooking day and many more. Just make sure it challenges them and you will see that it has nothing to do with go places or fancy presents.

Mary L said...

Wow, you are gooooood..... :) I guess I need to lift the "ban on play-doh" in my house! LOL

Kiki said...

Alex, where the heck were you when my kids were little?? You woulda really come in handy. How creative you are!

Hey Mary, if you really want to be intrepid, buy some Moon sand (otherwise called, "the evil stuff") and let them just spread it all over the house. Make sure that they grind it into the rug (it's more fun that way:)