“One of the greatest titles in the world is parent, and one of the biggest blessings in the world is to have parents to call mom and dad.” – Jim DeMint
It is only when you become a parent yourself that you realize what an enormous sacrifice and how much hard work it is to raise a kid. Then you start feeling guilty that you never really appreciated what your parents did for you. If you get a chance before they leave forever, tell them what you feel and how much you will miss them. Here are 8 things I wish I could tell my parents.
1. I am grateful for the role models you provided
Strong ethics and hard work marked you as special. They were your hallmarks. You gave me the role models to follow and I will never forget that, and will teach my kids the same. You taught me that there were no short cuts and you encouraged me to study hard. You did not get too upset when the report cards read, “He should try harder.”Advertising
2. I love the way you helped others
You went out of your way to help neighbors and friends who were experiencing difficult times and you demonstrated your values by taking action. If our neighbour lost her keys, Dad was there to tell her to retrace her steps. It worked every time!
3. I now know your standards were never too high
When you taught me that there was only one way to do anything – the right way – I thought you were far too strict. But there was never any question about shaming us in public, which is so popular nowadays. Now I know what is always right and that shoddy shortcuts and manipulative tactics will never pay off in the long term.
4. I love the way you encouraged us to work and earn money
You demonstrated a hard work ethic. I was allowed to work at the age of 17 in a laundry for two months, which was difficult, but taught me many life lessons I will never forget. Then I had an astonishing range of summer jobs such as bar person, lab assistant, door to door salesman, and fruit picker. This taught me the value of money and how to save for emergencies.Advertising
5. I am grateful you never intervened at school
I had problems at school, but you never intervened because you taught us to fend for ourselves. There were cases of bullying, sporting failures and disappointing exam results but you were never going to intervene on our behalf. We knew that we had to stand on our own two feet. You allowed us to fail and learn some tough life lessons. We were astonished when parents of delinquents and bullies were constantly ringing up the Principal to protest about the suspension of their little pets.
6. I am grateful for the chores we had to do
I complained at the time, but now I know the true value of helping out around the house. My mother worked, so we all had to muscle in and get things on the table by a certain time. We learned great skills and my ironing, cooking and gardening skills are still admired. Thank goodness you never spoiled us.
7. I thank you for the gift of reading
We were encouraged to read from early on. I still have my first Ladybird book, “Dick Whittington Goes to London.” Other kids never read anything and they grew up to be bigoted and badly behaved. Reading was an eye opener to the real world and I will never forget that wonderful gift you gave us.Advertising
“From your parents you learn love and laughter and how to put one foot before the other. But when books are opened you discover that you have wings.” – Helen Hayes
8. I thank you for teaching me about gratitude
“Count your blessings,” was my mother’s refrain. Every day, she reminded us to be grateful and that is the most important lesson my parents ever taught me. She just knew instinctively that was the secret to happiness and success. She would laugh now at the research which shows that adolescents who are taught to be grateful do better at school and suffer from less depression and envy. Everybody knows that, but she actually practised it and I am so grateful for that. Thanks Mom!
“Children are grateful when Santa Claus puts in their stockings gifts of toys or sweets. Could I not be grateful to Santa Claus when he puts in my stockings the gift of two miraculous legs? We thank people for birthday presents of cigars and slippers. Can I thank no one for the birthday present of birth?”- G.K. Chesterton
Featured photo credit: rioBapt 013/ marco antonio torres via flickr.com
Last Updated on May 21, 2019
How to Communicate Effectively in Any Relationship
For all our social media bravado, we live in a society where communication is seen less as an art, and more as a perfunctory exercise. We spend so much time with people, yet we struggle with how to meaningfully communicate.
If you believe you have mastered effective communication, scan the list below and see whether you can see yourself in any of the examples:
You are uncomfortable with a person’s actions or comments, and rather than telling the individual immediately, you sidestep the issue and attempt to move on as though the offending behavior or comment never happened.
You move on with the relationship and develop a pattern of not addressing challenging situations. Before long, the person with whom you are in relationship will say or do something that pushes you over the top and predictably, you explode or withdraw completely from the relationship.
In this example, hard-to-speak truths become never- expressed truths that turn into resentment and anger.
You communicate from the head and without emotion. While what you communicate makes perfect sense to you, it comes across as cold because it lacks emotion.
People do not understand what motivates you to say what you say, and without sharing your feelings and emotions, others experience you as rude, cold or aggressive.
You will know this is a problem if people shy away from you, ignore your contributions in meetings or tell you your words hurt. You can also know you struggle in this area if you find yourself constantly apologizing for things you have said.
You have an issue with one person, but you communicate your problem to an entirely different person.
The person in whom you confide lacks the authority to resolve the matter troubling you, and while you have vented and expressed frustration, the underlying challenge is unresolved.
You grew up in a family with destructive communication habits and those habits play out in your current relationships.
Because you have never stopped to ask why you communicate the way you do and whether your communication style still works, you may lack understanding of how your words impact others and how to implement positive change.
If you find yourself in any of the situations described above, this article is for you.
Communication can build or decimate worlds and it is important we get it right. Regardless of your professional aspirations or personal goals, you can improve your communication skills if you:
- Understand your own communication style
- Tailor your style depending on the needs of the audience
- Communicate with precision and care
- Be mindful of your delivery, timing and messenger
1. Understand Your Communication Style
To communicate effectively, you must understand the communication legacy passed down from our parents, grandparents or caregivers. Each of us grew up with spoken and unspoken rules about communication.
In some families, direct communication is practiced and honored. In other families, family members are encouraged to shy away from difficult conversations. Some families appreciate open and frank dialogue and others do not. Other families practice silence about substantive matters, that is, they seldom or rarely broach difficult conversations at all.
Before you can appreciate the nuance required in communication, it helps to know the familial patterns you grew up with.
2. Learn Others Communication Styles
Communicating effectively requires you to take a step back, assess the intended recipient of your communication and think through how the individual prefers to be communicated with. Once you know this, you can tailor your message in a way that increases the likelihood of being heard. This also prevents you from assuming the way you communicate with one group is appropriate or right for all groups or people.
If you are unsure how to determine the styles of the groups or persons with whom you are interacting, you can always ask them:
“How do you prefer to receive information?”
This approach requires listening, both to what the individuals say as well as what is unspoken. Virgin Group CEO Richard Branson noted that the best communicators are also great listeners.
To communicate effectively from relationship to relationship and situation to situation, you must understand the communication needs of others.
3. Exercise Precision and Care
A recent engagement underscored for me the importance of exercising care when communicating.
On a recent trip to Ohio, I decided to meet up with an old friend to go for a walk. As we strolled through the soccer park, my friend gently announced that he had something to talk about, he was upset with me. His introduction to the problem allowed me to mentally shift gears and prepare for the conversation.
Shortly after introducing the shift in conversation, my friend asked me why I didn’t invite him to the launch party for my business. He lives in Ohio and I live in the D.C. area.
I explained that the event snuck up on me, and I only started planning the invite list three weeks before the event. Due to the last-minute nature of the gathering, I opted to invite people in the DMV area versus my friends from outside the area – I didn’t want to be disrespectful by asking them to travel on such short notice.
I also noted that I didn’t want to be disappointed if he and others declined to come to the event. So I played it safe in terms of inviting people who were local.
In the moment, I felt the conversation went very well. I also checked in with my friend a few days after our walk, affirmed my appreciation for his willingness to communicate his upset and our ability to work through it.
The way this conversation unfolded exemplified effective communication. My friend approached me with grace and vulnerability. He approached me with a level of curiosity that didn’t put me on my heels — I was able to really listen to what he was saying, apologize for how my decision impacted him and vow that going forward, I would always ask rather than making decisions for him and others.
Our relationship is intact, and I now have information that will help me become a better friend to him and others.
4. Be Mindful of Delivery, Timing and Messenger
Communicating effectively also requires thinking through the delivery of the message one intends to communicate as well as the appropriate time for the discussion.
In an Entrepreneur.com column, VIP Contributor Deep Patel, noted that persons interested in communicating well need to master the art of timing. Patel noted,
“Great comedians, like all great communicators, are able to feel out their audience to determine when to move on to a new topic or when to reiterate an idea.”
Communicating effectively also requires thoughtfulness about the messenger. A person prone to dramatic, angry outbursts should never be called upon to deliver constructive feedback, especially to people whom they do not know. The immediate aftermath of a mass shooting is not the ideal time to talk about the importance of the Second Amendment rights.
Like everyone else, I must work to ensure my communication is layered with precision and care.
It requires precision because words must be carefully tailored to the person with whom you are speaking.
It requires intentionality because before one communicates, one should think about the audience and what the audience needs in order to hear your message the way you intended it to be communicated.
It requires active listening which is about hearing verbal and nonverbal messages.
Even though we may be right in what we say, how we say it could derail the impact of the message and the other parties’ ability to hear the message.
Communicating with care is also about saying things that the people in our life need to hear and doing so with love.
The Bottom Line
When I left the meeting with my dear friend, I wondered if I was replicating or modeling this level of openness and transparency in the rest of my relationships.
I was intrigued and appreciative. He’d clearly thought about what he wanted to say to me, picked the appropriate time to share his feedback and then delivered it with care. He hit the ball out of the park and I’m hopeful we all do the same.
More Articles About Effective Communication
- Conflict Management Styles for Effective Communication at Work
- 13 Best Communication Books for Stronger Social Skills & Relationships
- How to Master Effective Communication Skills at Work and Home
- 7 Most Important Communication Techniques to Master in the Workplace
Featured photo credit: Kenan Buhic via unsplash.com
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