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The True Happiness that Only Parents Understand When Children Do These 40 Small Things

The True Happiness that Only Parents Understand When Children Do These 40 Small Things

Being a parent means navigating a never ending and unexpected myriad of adventures, emotions, celebrations and experiments; and at times living what can be deemed as both the best of and worst of days. It can be the toughest and the most blessed job in the world – so here’s 40 treasured child related moments guaranteed to leave a smile on your face, an acknowledging nod and a glow in your heart.

  1. Snuggling up close
  2. Feeling the warmth and energetic vibrations of their little bodies merging with yours
  3. Sticky little hands and chubby wrists gripping and holding you tight – as though their world depended on it
  4. Feeling their strong beating hearts fluttering against you
  5. Knowing that you are their everything
  6. Crying out only for you, and knowing nobody else but you can help them
  7. Picking them back up after they’ve fallen (physically or metaphorically)
  8. Empowering and reassuring them when another has emotionally hurt them
  9. Being the safe harbour when the world becomes too overwhelming and they need help regaining their bearings
  10. Drawing a picture, singing a song, making up a story, telling a joke for your entertainment only
  11. Doing whatever it takes to engage your full attention and watch your eyes light up and your smile spread from ear to ear
  12. Being privy to all their hopes and fears, secrets and vulnerabilities
  13. Encouraging and applauding their originality and creativity for the same task for the hundredth time
  14. Looking for your encouragement and approval that it is okay to be exactly as they are
  15. Every time they proclaim and express their love and gratitude for you (long may it last!)
  16. Colourful scribbles of unidentifiable objects, out of tune ditties with made up words, never ending stories that have no beginning, middle or end
  17. Repeating made up jokes that they find the hilarious (but make no sense to you!)
  18. Playing make believe, exercising your imagination and creativity and resurrecting your own inner child
  19. Being a single person engaged, enthusiastic and cheerleading audience like no other will ever be
  20. Being gifted hundreds of interesting facts that you probably already know
  21. Laying claim to being the raison d’etre of your child’s budding talents
  22. Being repeatedly informed and re-educated on topics such as the difference between each of the Disney princesses and Skylanders
  23. Having the privilege to play Santa, the tooth fairy, the elf on the shelf, and the Easter bunny
  24. The day they finally recognise that your way is the best way (for now!)
  25. Watching tongues slightly protruding from the lips, eyes glazing over and ears tuning out when utterly absorbed in a task
  26. Being totally occupied by something other than you
  27. Falling asleep on you
  28. FINALLY falling asleep on their own (although this can be a double edged sword!)
  29. Listening in on their conversations with friends on whose mummy or daddy is the best
  30. Knowing you will take on exalted challenges like a knight in shining armour, fighting any monsters or demons that may be lurking to keep them safe
  31. Hearing them say I love you for the first or the millionth time
  32. Listening to their ideas of what they will be like when they grow up
  33. Watching them earnestly attempt to dance and master their body movements
  34. Multiple happy birthday, Christmas and other special occasion cards, notes and letters created for you
  35. Their take on ‘helping’ you
  36. Telling you that you are the most beautiful, brave, amazing, special person ever
  37. Their idea of taking turns and rules when playing a game
  38. Fitting together puzzle pieces that don’t fit together
  39. Tidying up
  40. Knowing that no matter what came before – and what is to come after – it has all been worth it

Featured photo credit: beautiful little girl with her mother outdoors in Autumn via shutterstock.com

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Last Updated on May 21, 2019

How to Communicate Effectively in Any Relationship

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:

Example 1

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.

Example 2

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.

Example 3

You have an issue with one person, but you communicate your problem to an entirely different person.

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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.

Example 4

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.

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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.

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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,[1]

“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.

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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.

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Featured photo credit: Kenan Buhic via unsplash.com

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