If we are to be a happier society we must think about how we communicate with one another. There are effective ways to converse and there are ways not to as well. The reason for the state of things? Why life is like this, has a great deal to do with how we communicate as individuals, couples, groups, and whole societies.
Ask yourself these questions. How did I learn to communicate? Did you learn how to communicate from your parents? Friends? Being in school, therefore your teachers. Who influenced you the most? What ways of communication did you adopt and why? How effective do you find your own style of communication? Do you take the time to get to the heart of a problem? Or assume it will work its own way out? To get to the bottom of things it’s important to do some self-examination. It will be worthwhile to do so! It might now be easy but it will be worthwhile.
Who am I to ask this of you; to think about this? Well, I am someone who grew up in a family that did not communicate well. And who as a child there was something about who I am that made me observe the adults in my world and think about the way they talked to one another and my brother and me. The bottom line was I spent a lot of time observing and that is how I learned about how to communicate. I think this is true of other people too! We never talked about the nuts and bolts of how to communicate effectively. Nor how to check on how something was meant.
I began to develop an interest in psychology due to the adults in my life. I know that sounds a bit odd or funny! But it’s true! I thought that learning about why people did as they did might help me to understand them, and others, at best all I could do was observe. Well, psychology helps just so much, as does a logic class, philosophy class, and even an interpersonal communication class. They had no clue how to communicate really well. I knew they would not be receptive to me trying to explain it either! LOL I did obtain information that explained many things through these classes, but I never got to why the people I knew did as they did, including an ex-husband and two of my children.
It is guessing when people do not open up to you. And for people to open up means there has to be respect, trust, and belief in someone, no matter who they are. Family or friends. These are also the foundations for loving one another. These are also the foundation to effective, good communication between two or more people.
Moreover, my interests took me further because I wanted to help people by using my art or writing. So, I went to UMA, then USM to obtain a Masters In Art Therapy. I took all the right classes but ended with a Bachelor Of Fine Arts Degree instead. I needed 4 classes and to do a one-year residency to be an art therapist. From USM it would have been a self-design major.
Now some thoughts I have about interpersonal communication. We begin learning how to communicate first from our parents. And they did the same, from their parents, as did their parents, etc, on down the line.
First, Parents do the best they know-how, all of us do once we become Mom and Dad!
As individuals, couples whole societies we talk to one another all the time. However! How effective are we being is the question I have? When I watch TV, go out into the world, and observe other people, and family I see people who don’t know how to really talk, listen, check on what is meant, nor do they think about what they are saying. They send mixed messages, I have seen some outright lie and think it is funny! Let’s take a look at this.
In looking back on my own parents, uncles, grandmother, and grandfather said. I do not recall ever talking about communicating incomplete ways. I recall things said at times that are components of communication. Like “You need to listen better!” “Zip your lip!” “Children should be seen and not heard.” “Well, Miss Moulton if you shut your mouth and open up your ears you will learn a lot!” These come to mind, and none of them were a part of a discussion about communication skills. They were singular-minded; “don’t talk, listen!” Often when kids “talk back” it’s with the hope of having a dialog, most kids don’t feel parents listen.
When I went to bed at night I would hear my parents, and the other adults talk. I was upset with Dad or Mom for years because they would talk to one another, one would leave the room and another one of the adults would come in and the discussion is brought up and either parent said different things about the situations to the other adult. And the other adult responded to what was said____ We must remember our children can hear us and they form opinions on what they hear, and in doing so they respond to us accordingly. I did my parents. I did not feel they were trustworthy something that stuck in my mind.
Some thoughts on parenting and the lack of time there is within family life. I think that most parents feel the pressures of having no time for what they would like to do as parents. I know I did!
Most of us feel we don’t want to be like our parents were when we become parents. Often we try out different approaches. I know I did. I felt By the time I became a young adult I felt I did not know who my parents were and they had no clue about who I was. I felt disappointed.
Once again that lack of time came into play and all the things they had to do left breakfast time, dinner time, supper, and sometime in the evening to be a family. During the week, and weekends? It was a time to catch up on chores etc. In my house, there were other people, not just Mom and Dad, but at one point a grandfather and uncle, then later just my grandmother. Also, the house was split so my aunt, her husband, and kids lived in half and we did the other. When there are a lot of adults in a house___adults talk to each other and not to the kids. So kids are observing, waiting to get a word in edgewise, or they give up and hope to talk later. My parents suffered from not being just the couple.
Then you add in the school years where the school system has the kids 8 hours a day, School___teachers become influencers at that point. If we work that affects how much time we are available.
I think what would help parents, and their children is for kids to learn how interpersonal communication in the school system. We teach grammar/ writing but not communication.
Have workbooks, that parents can be involved in. This will give both parents and children insights into better communication skills as well. I feel that it would go a long way to help prevent bullying too. I also think that kids who learn to be effective communicators are more likely to speak up and get involved; go further in school, etc.
Begin in 1st grade. I recall papers on emotions coming home. Understanding emotions however are one part of communicating. We need to teach more than knowing what sad, happy, angry___look like.
We need to talk about how to listen to each other as well as take turns having conversations. We need to talk about body language and tone of voice. We need to talk about mixed messages and check on what is not clear about a discussion. There are other things to discuss as well how we perceive and relate to others is one part of the matter at hand. We need to be able to hold each other accountable for words and actions. We also need to learn how to make responsible allowances.
This goes for everyone. There are people that help run the world at large who are not applying good communication skills. Also, life has become the result of one big debate class, where you stack up all the pros and cons there are! Now, if you understand how to create debates, you already know the answers you want. You see what stacks up, and you go with what you consider the best option. This may seem practical, right___but something tells me that it by itself does not work very well! We are so overwhelmed that it feels too hard to do “it!” But we must look at how to change life so we don’t do ourselves in! Communicating well is one way we can do that! Or___ “This is the way the world ends, this is the way the world ends, this is the way the world ends! Not with a bang! But a whimper____. We can start with our own friends and families and with our school systems we can teach this basic necessity.