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I found this meme funny the other day, because on occasion my kids like to communicate with me and each other with pictures rather than words. They find it funny with each other; I usually find it annoying, especially when one child will send randomness rather than even trying to communicate, just tons of random emoji’s. I have decided that social media has not helped us communicate better. Maybe we stay in contact better, but grammar and spelling have gone out the window, as well as overall meaning not being conveyed well because so little information is given. I am not an English major or even remember a lot of what I learned in English class, or at least I didn’t think so until recent years watching how horribly communication and word usage has deteriorated. This morning as I was getting ready for my day I was thinking about words and communicating and how not just social media has deteriorated our ability to use words and communicate effectively, but society as a whole doesn’t communicate well anymore.

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I recently read Stephen Covey’s book 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. I learned a lot about how I view the world, and about paradigms. But this quote has helped me to pay attention to how I listen. The words that others say are very important and listening to all the words instead of pieces is critical to our understand of any given situation. More and more often we are given snippets of things people say, using only those words that help them make the point, or contradict someone else’s point of view so that they can challenge that point of view, even if that snippet is taken out of context and doesn’t really mean what it is portraited to mean, had we read through the entire piece of work. I still catch myself listening to a piece of what someone else is saying and then it reminds me of some experience that was similar, and I find myself waiting to share my experience, completely missing the rest of their experience, thus in reality, not really being able to relate to what they said because I didn’t stop to listen to what they actually had to say.

The words we use to communicate in our home, words businesses use to communicate to customers, wording used in legal contracts and documents are important. Words have weight, and proper use of them can lead to better understanding and the ability to work together regardless of differences toward a common goal. Incorrect use of words causes divisions, misunderstandings, and frustration on all fronts. Watching the news lately, there is a lot of contention and frustration in the world. There isn’t much communication going on, however. 2 sides sitting down and talking about their perspectives, 2 sides listen with the intent of understanding, 2 sides that can even communicate well what it is they think and feel. Growing up and having worked and volunteered in the school system I find it interesting how often I would tell the kids when they had a problem, “Use your words.” Trying to get kids to communicate with each other. When they did, they most often fixed their own problems and got back to being friends. I wonder at what point in our development we forget to use our words and listen to both sides to fix the problems that arise.

Today as I have pondered, I have decided I will reevaluate how I communicate, and as I go through this coming week, I will work on thinking about the words I speak before I speak them, to make sure they are truly what I would like to say, as well as listening to all the words others are speaking before forming an opinion, or deciding what I will say back in response, realizing sometimes a response isn’t always necessary. Sometimes people just need to say something and know someone else is listening, hearing, and understanding. Today and in the days to come I will listen to hear and understand the words others speak.

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