Monday, March 14, 2011

What' The Big Deal?

Today I'm going to share another blog post that struck me as perfect for my blog, as well.
This post is from a daily devotional that I read. Now, if you aren't "into" God, that's okay. I think you'll still find it useful.

So, until next time, enjoy today's "guest" blog post!

Happy Communicating,
~ Andrea

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Being a Successful Family...

... means sometimes saying "well done" when you want to say "what were you thinking!?"

Please let me explain.

My DS, 6 years old, has started getting his 2 year old brother up all by himself on Saturday mornings. He does this so I can sleep in. Of course, I don't usually keep sleeping once they are up! But it's a wonderful thought and some days I really do read in bed while I pray and listen to the sweet birds sing their songs.

When the boys are up, DS1 usually prepares breakfast. He generally gets out bowls and makes cereal for us all. Last week he made us a nice smorgasbord of items found in the pantry.

Today, he pulled out all the stops: figs, dates, marshmallows, chocolate granola thins, honey sticks, pistachios, carrot bran muffins, chocolate chip cookies that he 'fixed up' with confectioner's sugar and sprinkles, and dove chocolates. Upon seeing his proud creation, I wanted to scream. Honestly. All that sugar for breakfast?? And COOKIES??

But then I looked at his sweet, happy face. He was so proud of himself for letting me sleep and making breakfast. He put out foods he thought I would like. He tried. In the process, he helped his brother change out of his diaper and jammies and into underwear and clothes (means he also helped with the potty). He did something so nice for me.

I realized a little bit of sugar was NOT a big deal. So I praised him and told him what a good job he did. Later, perhaps, we can talk about putting some of the fresh fruit from the fridge and saving cookies for later. But for now, I'm simply happy that my typically clingy older son is exhibiting signs of independence (from me) and practicing acts of service.

That seems pretty successful to me.

Q4U: How do your kids communicate their love for YOU?

Happy Communicating!
~ Andrea

Monday, March 7, 2011

No Family is the Same

We all know that our friends grew up in different families, right? You're probably muttering something like "duh" right now.

Did you know that even siblings grow up in different families? That's right. Each time a new member is added to a family, the dynamic changes. So, you're not crazy when you remember one thing about your family growing up and your sister/brother remembers the same incident totally different.

Likewise, when you are raising a family, it's always different eacht ime you add a child. I remember crying to my sister after my second DS was born. I wanted things to be just like they were when it was just my DH and DS1. My sister said "you'll never be that Mommy again." I cried for nearly a year mourning the loss and fighting the reality of what she told me. Until I realized it's just a family dynamic thing. I might not be the SAME Mommy I was before, but I can be a great, different Mommy now.

So, instead of being frustrated by the different view you and a sibling have, or lamenting the change, rejoice in the differences!

Happy Communicating,

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Communication: The Big Picture

For this week's idea portion of the blog, I want to focus on the big picture of communication. This concept applies to ALL of our communication...with everyone from strangers to family.

Let's begin with a very short history. For a very long time, people thought that humans communicated one at a time. So, I might have an idea to communicate (face to face) with you. I send you my message while you passively sit by waiting to receive it. Then I wait while you send a message back to me. And so on...

Let's face it, though. Communicating is NOT like playing catch with a six year old! One person isn't just waiting for us to send our message. Even while we are talking, the other person is sending us signals (remember the blog about verbal/nonverbal-vocal/nonvocal messages??). So, in the 1960's researchers really began to develop this idea that communication is simultaneous.

Not only is communication simultaneous, but there are lots of other things going on during the communication episode. Even in a football game, while the quarterback is looking for a recipient for the ball, there's a lot of other action going on. The same thing happens while we formulate our message for our recipient. Life goes on all around us.

While we say our message and the other person responds (with words, looks, and sounds), other things are happening. First, our history with the person influences both the message and the other person's interpretation of it. If we had a fight with our friend last week, we might communicate more tentatively than with a friend we haven't recently fought with.

Second, our environment influences our communication. My book club meets at various locations each month. We tried the Starbucks at Target once. It was a fabulous idea and GREAT coffee. But the environment was just too fast and distracting to get much good conversation accomplished. There really is a time and a place for certain conversations.

Finally, noise influences our communication. By noise I don't just mean sounds. Of course, a loud environment (like the Starbucks at Target) can hinder any communication, especially meaningful conversation. Noise really refers to anything that detracts from sending or receiving a message. So, hunger, headaches, work problems, marital problems, financial challenges, and a long to-do list can all act as noise for a person.

I bet you didn't know there is SO much going on when you communicate. Perhaps now you have a clearer picture of why so many misunderstandings take place. With all the distractions happening, I sometimes marvel that we ever have a successful communication episode!

Happy Communicating~