Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Can We Communicate? Can We?

As many of you know, I am involved in a lot of KALs (knit alongs). I mean A LOT!!!!! Some of these KALs are based here in the United States and several are based overseas in Europe. The talent of the designers both here and abroad is amazing. I so love these things and I've made some great "on-line friends." People I would never have met had it not been for these KALS.

Since my first KAL, Mystery Stole 3-July 07, I have been somewhat amazed at the comments some people, both American and those from other countries, have made. If I can't make a positive comment I don't make one. I realize that we all come from different cultures, different schools of thought, etc. therefore, I attempt to think the best. Do I grow weary of seeing people ask the same questions over and over? You bet your sweet bippy!!!!!

Some even go as far as to make very mean spirited comments directly to other group members. This doesn't only happen in on-line groups, it happens everyday in our churches, work places and sad to say, our homes. Stephen Covey has written many wonderful books on communication. In his book "The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People," he brings up several great thoughts.

1) Seek first to understand and then to be understood. How many of our arguments could be averted if we would stop long enough to cool our jets and try to see things from the other point of view? To try first to figure out exactly what is being said.

A funny story:
When our Sara was little she always got words mixed up. She still does. When she was 5 we lived in Tulsa, OK. My husband, David, was attending Oral Roberts University. Being a poor student family of 5 we were always looking for fun, FREE things to do. The University had a gym, the Aerobics Center. One Friday night we headed over. David and our oldest, Aaron-7, stayed downstairs to shoot some hoops while Sara-5, Jordan-3 and I headed upstairs to the running track/gymnastics center that over looked the basketball area. Sara was practising her ballet in the mirrors. Jordan had fallen asleep on one of the mats when Sara informed me she needed to go to the bathroom. I told her to go right down the stairs and Daddy would show her where the bathroom was. She wasn't gone hardly any time when she reappeared at the top of the steps.

I asked her "Sissy, did you go to the bathroom?" Now, you have to realize the kids were attending a private Christian school and we didn't use foul language around the house in order for you to understand my horror at her response. She said, "Yeah, I went to the bathroom and took a couple shits." I sat on the floor next to Jordy with my mouth drooping wide open. Surely I had misheard her. "You what?" "I went to the bathroom and took a couple shits." Now, my mind is racing. Where has she heard this term? Is that what she really said? "You did what?" This sweet little thing was so patient with her poor stunned mommy. "I went to the bathroom and a took a couple shits." This time when she got to the "shits" portion of her statement she acted like she was shooting a basketball. "Ohhhhhhhhhhhh, shots, you took a couple shots!!!!!!" "Yeah."

Sometimes we have to put things in context and sometimes we have to remember we are having a language breakdown or hitting a barrier. :)

2) We don't see things as they are, we see things as we are. This one is a little more difficult to understand I think. It took me a while to grasp it anyways. We all have an invisible filter around us. Everything we hear, or experience, has to come through that filter before it can be assimilated. Depending on what our experiences have been depends on how we view situations or others. Again, we need to not just react, we need to seek out the truth of what is really being said or done.

Another funny story:

When Sara was around 10 she and her Daddy had been out for a walk. When they returned David said, "Sissy, tell Momma what we saw in that yard." She proudly and boldly said, "Oh yeah, we saw a Version Mary." After much laughter I told her it was a "Virgin Mary not a Version Mary." She said, "Oooooooooh, I thought I was a Version Mary because that was their version." Well, makes some sense huh?

A final funny story:

When Jordan was little the church we pastored was Glad Tidings Christian Center. He was probably around 6 or so when he said "Mommy, why is our church called Glad Tidings Christian Sinner?"

Can we communicate?

I finished clue 2 of Gammy's Hope (Christine's Rose Garden). This baby afghan is so very pretty. I'm going to have to make another one in white as a baby dedication afghan in a lace weight.


Suzanne said...

Clue 2 is looking GOOD!
Thank you for the stories, you are such a blessing.

Joanne said...

These are good stories and they totally make your point. We all have our own "story" that we carry along with us, and that affects our perceptions of others. You are right to speak with such love to others...I think that's the way to make the world a better place! (that, and telling the mean-spirited people to mind their manners!)

GailR said...

Yes, some of those comments have been a bit sharp, haven't they? I hope the nastiness is over now.

Love the stories. Mine are mostly from my childhood (with younger sisters) and involve my youngest sister repeating what my father said about a neighbor's cat and dad's birdfeeder. Four-year olds should never hear those words.

My favorite is when my daughter was not quite 1 1/2. A bachelor friend was over and was trying to see what M could do. The friend hopped and M hopped. He said a word and she repeated it. Then he said "Truck", knowing how many children misspeak that word. Before she answered I told him if she said what he was thinking she would say, he would be the one getting his mouth washed out with soap. M very carefully leaned toward him and said "Trrrruck" and he was speechless. He never tried that with our son.

Sonya said...

Thank you for the reminder. We all need to take a deep breath or two before responding to people.

We also need to show our love and appreciation for those around us. A recent scare has me loving my family even more.

Angelika said...

Communication is great. And soon I'm even closer to you. I'll be moving from GA to KY in a couple of months. Woohoo, here I come. I can't wait.

Anonymous said...

That afghan is absolutely lovely. I am not really an afghan knitter, so PLEASE DON"T CONVERT ME! I already blame you for a whole lotta lace.

Also, thanks for the reminder that sometimes we are too quick to jump to conclusions when attempting to communicate. It's great to keep in mind

Roseann said...

Your blogs are so entertaining and thought provoking, thank you for your wonderful writing. I enjoy reading them and I learn a little something, too. Looking at your beautiful knitting is an added bonus.

Carol said...

That afghan is beautiful, you talented knitter you.

I, too, refuse to jump into any of the online meanness. Every group/forum has its moments and I've been online long enough to be used to the ebb and flow. Plus, adding to the fray never helps, even to tell another to lay off the nastiness or to remind folks of the rules; that's the job of the moderator.

It's nice to "know" someone like you, Peggy. Keep giving us your good words!

Alpaca Granny said...

'morning, Peggy, thanks for the delightful stories and the words of wisdom.
I find that as I get older I really avoid the hurtful talking people. Our uptown knitting group has taken a turn with more folks showing up. I can no longer be part of it. I get all yucky feeling when I hear folks being mean spirited. And, you know, I don't think they even realize it.

June said...

Oh man, you should be the one to mediate at GM! How very funny Peggy! I laughed so much Chris and Caryn immediately needed to know the joke!

I agree with your first comment the most, if you can't say something nice then don't say anything at all. Isn't the golden rule: Do unto others as you would have them do unto you? Well, that's my motto anyway!

Love ya girl -

Traci said...

I ultimately feel bad for those who make nasty comments. They are probably insecure and have had traumas in their lives that they choose not to overcome. I choose to stay away from them if at all possible!
Gorgeous afgan! Love the colors.

Ann K. said...

Peggy- I love reading your blog and all of your kind comments on the many KALs in which we both participate. As a fellow lace KAL addict, I thought you might be interested in this new one that is starting in April:

Hope to see you there, too!

Kate said...

How wonderful stories, those kids can really make us smile.
And I do really agree with you, if you can't say something nice, then be quiet.
This is my first visit in your blog, but I'll be back.
Wish you a really nice weekend from a really sunny Trondheim(Norway)

Anonymous said...

I just wanted to thank you for your kind words. Words can be so damaging! I have to remember that daily with my children.
I also wanted to thank you for your updates on the new KAL's. It's really the only way I find out about them as I rarely get time to look at the messages or search for new ones.

andrea said...

Peggy, I would like to thank you for your referral to your article on communication in your recent post on the Mystery Lace Yahoo group. I am one of the Newbies to lace knitting and reading all the negative posts you do become scared to ask even the smallest of questions. I have applied to join some of the KAL groups on you blog page. Thank you so very much for understanding the needs of, us, newbies. I really try to reaseach anwers to the questions that I am thinking of asking. I look forward to seeing you on the groups. Thank you again! Andrea