Hello from beautiful Montana:
Learning to communicate with those you care about takes a great deal of courage and time. Listening to your family takes courage because you may hear the truth, when you would prefer an easier and less painful version. Taking seconds, minutes and hours to listen to your family goes on forever.Time because if you don’t listen to the questions of children when they are two and three, they won’t be sharing conversations with you when they are twelve and thirty three.
Put Up a Billboard Ad and Buy Lots of Gifts To Show Your Love
Actually, this outward manifestations of caring can backfire on family relationships. People don’t care how much you know and show, unless they know how much you care…about them as individuals.
Presents have far less influence in the lives and future of a child, than the gift of presence. The simple act of truly listening gives value to their thoughts and concerns. Confidence is built when others take our point of view seriously and acknowledge our ideas.
How You Listen More Important Than What You Say
Body language is the communication of relationships. If people have to choose whether to believe what you say or how you looked and made them feel, verbal language will fail every time.
Lean forward, pay attention to your facial expressions and try not to interrupt. What kind of message are you sending if you keep interrupting with a better idea or to downplay their request.
My husband Dwain used to use this technique with our kids; “Tell me why I should say yes?” Then he would listen as they presented their case or talked their thoughts out loud. Very often they would come to their own conclusions about the merits of their case. They knew they had been heard, acknowledged and loved.
It is hard to find the time, energy and patience to listen to your family. But I have confidence in you and know that even when you hear the truth, you will be connecting in a real way with those you love best.
Judy Helm Wright aka Auntie Artichoke, family relationship author and keynote motivational speaker