Saturday, January 19, 2013


"What we've got here is failure to communicate. Some men you just can't reach..."
-Cool Hand Luke 
I live with three men... 
So we, at times, have a failure to communicate. There are attempts at communication, we grunt, we vocalize each and every thought with sarcastic excellence, we look at each other with eyes so wide that eyeballs could hit the floor.  Yet, still a failure to communicate. 
How do I improve my family's ability to communicate WITHOUT yelling so loud I am communicating with the neighbors?  
I think I will start with an equation I often quote to my children..."God gave you two ears and one mouth, so you need to listen twice as much as you talk."  I am not very good at walking the walk on this one. Those who know me, know I am a bit of a controller.  I prefer controller, over control just sounds better. So the idea of letting one of my guys, particularly the smaller ones, take the time to finish a thought before I address the issue and move on just seems like an inefficient use of precious time. 
Hmmm... maybe step two is slowing down.
If my time is so precious I feel I have to rush through conversations with my children and husband in order to move on to something else, maybe we don't have a failure to communicate maybe I have a scheduling issue. I think this relates back to to the controller mind set. It is just easier to do everything myself, so just shut up, move and let me do it. EEK, that sounds awful...awfully accurate....
Oy... So, some of the failure in communication seems to be related to my need to control the situation and move on to the next task. However, the main issue I see in our small but mighty family has yet to come to light. 
TONE... OH the TONE!
If you have watched even one minute of The Voice on NBC you have probably heard the phrase, "It was a bit pitchy" or in layman's terms it was off key or out of tune. If we were a family singing group I think we would be termed pitchy. I know we would definitely be pitchy in song because I can't carry a tune in a bucket, but more importantly we tend to be pitchy in  how we communicate with each other. 
For example, when EJ looks me dead in the eye, in all of his 45lb glory, and throws a 200lb attitude at me you have to wonder where he learned such a talent. Or when LJ, who is old enough to know better, tells SJ to, "Go Get Me XYZ" without so much as please or a glance in his father's general direction, I have to wonder if we, the leaders of this household, are leading by example? As adults, outside the home, SJ and I have to communicate with prospects, clients and the general public in a non-pitchy, over-explanatory manner which can not be rushed because clarity is crucial. What happens to this talent when we walk in the door at home? Do we turn into grunting, bossy balls of attitude that demand understanding without explanation? Well, apparently yes, YES we do... and this is obvious by how our children communicate with us. OOPS!  
So where do we go from here? Well, that is the fun thing... ANYWHERE WE WANT TO! We are a family of smart alecks who tend to be hurried and pitchy but we love each other and we are learning to communicate S-L-O-W-L-Y but surely. We have nowhere to go but up. We can learn from the knowledge that none of us like to be bossed around, yelled at or grunted at and most importantly our TONE sets the tone of the communication. If I want my children to calmly and clearly communicate their needs and wants with me then I must do the same with them. When I master this ability, they will too.  So if there is a failure to communicate maybe I don't need to look at what is being said but rather HOW it is being said!