I'd like to think, that over the years I've gained some skill in being able to communicate adeptly with others. Now I realize that there are times when I've missed the mark, and haven't been able to effectively get my point across. Though by and large I think most people understand me when I speak, write, or send non-verbal communication like nodding my head.
I've also matured over the years in communicating as a responsibility. If I tell someone I'll call, I call. If I'm suppose to send an email I write that email. This doesn't always mean that it works out for me (I'm remembering how over a month ago I struggled with my computer/email and my emails wouldn't send and I couldn't receive others - talk about frustrating).
These days my struggle in communication is learning how to effectively do it with a teenage population. I've got two words for you...SANDAL HOUSE!
In the beginning of my term at Sandal House I would bend over backwards to be flexible regarding the teens and their ability to communicate their needs and wants. That approach accomplished very little.
Now I take the approach that if they aren't able to effectively communicate to me in a timely manner what it is they need or want, then they often have to make do without. I'm happy to report this approach has begun to foster a more responsible attitude in our home.
For example, in the past the girls would often come to me when they were on their last diaper for their child and tell me they need more diapers. It never seemed to matter how often I asked them to give me some forewarning, so we could arrange diapers in a timely manner, they still continued to come to me at the last minute. After awhile I got tired of sounding like a broken record and I left them with the consequences.
I remember the evening, one of my teens came to me as I was leaving the house for a meeting (a meeting I had on our calendar for three weeks) and informed me she had just used her last diaper and need me to get her some more that evening. I looked at her and said, "I hear what you're asking me, but it doesn't sound like it's my problem. You're going to need either give me atleast 24 hours warning before you need diapers, or you need to figure out how you're going to get them yourself."
Presto...she found a diaper or two to borrow, gave me my forewarning, and we haven't had the problem since.
I've learned when you have THREE teens and only ONE little ol' me, it's important to get your communication worked out.
Actually, last evening a friend of mine asked me if I was learning a lot from my Sandal House experience. Now this was a friend I see quite often, and talk to even more, so they shouldn't be surprised when I just gave them a blank "you've got to be kidding me" look. I was with a group of friends when the question was posed, and they laughed a little at my surprise of the question. I finally just smiled and said, "Yes, I'm learning a lot."
What an understatment though. It seems that everyday I learn something new. Something about teenagers, babies, toddlers, parenting, our cultural, our values, and faith. I could go on and on about what God has shown me through this experience. Praise Him!