Last week we discussed making assumptions and communication. We never want to make assumptions regarding that about which we are not certain…ask questions if the person has not been clear – especially if it involves people other than yourself. So, what is communication anyway? It is the exchange of information between parties. So, effective communication is like a two-way street: information is given and received. Ongoing communication requires a cycle where information is given, received and returned – kind of like a tennis match. This week, the question is, how do we know when information has been received?
First, we check to see if the other person or persons are paying attention.
What does that look like anyway? There are many nonverbal ways to tell if someone is paying attention. Here are just a few: eye contact; leaning forward; nodding head; sitting still; not fidgeting; answering questions. When Miss Laura and I are with you in individual meetings, we try to show you, by our example, how to pay attention. That’s kind of hard to do if you aren’t paying attention to us. Most of the time most of you do pay attention – and for that, thank you! We really want you to succeed at your personal, educational and career goals – so we work hard to help those who want to be helped.
Maybe you are the type of person who likes to make it on your own…figure things out by yourself. I completely understand because it is how I used to be before I realized there were people around me who had gone through similar circumstances and I could learn from them…if not what they did in a given situation, then what they did NOT do. So I started paying attention when someone was trying to teach me something or explain something to me and tried to learn how not to make the same mistakes.
When I was a teenager, for a number of reasons, I had some mixed up ideas about people in authority (those making my decisions for me). Even after I grew up a little and learned to pay attention to the teachers around me…even after my life began to improve, I still ran into problems of my own creating. I had to learn more life lessons about authority before I came to respect it. That was a choice I made before I realized something very, very important: You do not have to respect the person in authority – particularly if his or her behaviors are unethical; however, it is in your best interest to always respect the position of authority they hold and how they can help or hurt you. So if we can learn to treat the position with the respect it deserves we will get far in life. The first step in showing respect is to pay attention to the people in authority around us. Besides, they may be trying to communicate some very important information.
In the week ahead, I challenge you to pay attention to two things with regard to the adults in your life: 1) who is trying to teach you something? And 2) what are they trying to teach you? Then turn off your electronics when you are with those adults and listen. Really listen. Try some of the actions listed above and see what happens.
Next week we will explore more “authority issues”.
Until then…Stay safe…Be calm…Have faith. Remember: We have been destined to succeed because you are just like me.