Tag Archives: communication

When Communication Is Not Your First Language

8 Nov

Sometimes a comedic line on a TV series can hit a bit close to home. As was the case when Patrick’s said to David on the Emma Award winning series Schitt’s Creek, “I understand David that communication is not your first language.

A must watch tale of love.

While I had a good laugh, I’ve also had to ponder (as my wife would say) communication as a language skill.

A relationship takes a commitment to love and communication.

Since moving to Mexico, I have been daily studying Spanish as a second language. My foray into learning Spanish began in high school. It continued during a junior year abroad in Mexico and with additional college coursework and a job where I spoke Spanish daily.

Regardless of how hard I work, I am clear that I will never pass as a native speaker. Between idioms, accent and constructing new cognitive frameworks, I have a lot to learn.

I think the same can be said of communication. When my kids were little, I used to teach a course called, How To Talk So Kids Will Listen. Also for ten years, I have been a student and coach of Real Love by Dr. Greg Baer.

Learning the language of communication takes daily effort and attention. Remembering that most people have never worked to improve the skills that mom and dad taught them, helps me to have patience. It also reminds me to not take things personally and lower my expectations. I don’t think communication will ever be my first language either, but remain a lifetime study for as long as I live.

DOS TORTAS

It’s Not About the Words

29 Oct

I’ve always been a word person. In seventh grade Mr. Oldfield taught us to diagram sentences…verbs, nouns, adjectives, adverbs, pronouns, gerunds. The more complicated the sentence, the more I liked it.

Eighth grade age 14 and high school graduation 1970

When registering for high school classes, the counselor signed me up for a semester of Latin. I had no idea why. I was so lost in that class. I passed the course by copying test answers from the girl next to me. It took me a long time to understand that taking Latin was one of the best things I ever did and that I actually learned a lot. Not only is Latin the basis for English but made learning Spanish that much easier. I don’t think schools offer Latin anymore.

Even though I loved words, I never understood how to write a term paper. Classes at the University of Texas had a strong writing component. The teaching assistant would return my scribbling with suggestions for improvement marked in red. I made corrections and returned the paper as many times as it took to have an acceptably finished product. I was learning.

Graduate school and a job as a grant writer further developed my abilities. The final outcome was a love of writing. I do my best to hone my craft and produce a blog that tells a story. I am a work in progress.

So that’s the written word. What about spoken? My poor wife frequently looks at me in confusion. She is more of a statistical, black and white thinker. All my finely crafted communications leave her befuddled and give her a headache. It’s a wonder we’ve made it twenty-five years.

Last night I had a dream. An ethereal woman appeared to me and stated clearly, “it’s not about the words, it’s about the feelings.” The message shone through. People don’t feel loved, understood, and accepted by my well diagrammed sentences. I use words to protect myself and distance myself from people. They also make me feel smart. I guess it’s time for less thinking and more heart, a skill I’m willing to develop.

DOS TORTAS

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