I have noticed that sometimes my weeks have themes. The theme of this past week was communication. It seemed like I kept encountering situations where I was miscommunicating with someone else – a coworker, student, family member, or friend. These situations prompted me to begin thinking about this infamous concept. How does one communicate and for what reasons?
At the moment I am particulary aware of 3 different obstacles in communication. I believe these obstacles cover all aspects of human interaction.
1) Gender~Communication between individuals is difficult in and of itself, yet when you add opposite sexes to the mix it becomes even more trying. Males and females, whether they be children, teens, or adults rarely see eye-to-eye. Men want small bits of information given at frequent intervals so they don’t have to be still for too long at any one moment; women like the stage to be set, the setting to be described, and the feelings expressed as the information is given. Men want to solve the problem; women simply want to share the problem to receive sympathy. Men communicate to live; women live to communicate. There are exceptions to every rule, I know, but this is what I have observed and encountered when it comes to male-female communication.
2) Age~When was the last time you tried to teach a middle schooler? Or what about the music you listen to versus the music your grandfather enjoys? Have you discussed IPods, IPads, or Facebook with your dad recently? These are all things that matter to the 20-somethings and younger of our society, but are very difficult to grasp for the Baby Boomer generation and beyond. We all live in the same society, though in different time zones, and we all depend on one another.
3) Interest~Back to teaching middle schoolers. Every day I battle conveying knowledge to youngsters who really could care less (for the most part). Somehow I need to cause them to want to learn material that has little to no impact on their life right now. Why should they care if a clause is dependent or independent, or if an adjective is limiting or not? Who cares about when Marco Polo did his exploring or who that dude, Hammurabi, was? Yet it is something they are required to learn. In every relationship there is someone with the greater sincerity and desire to maintain the interaction, and someone who counts on the other one to make the most effort. Do you ever feel like you’re the only one trying to communicate?
Those are the obstacles I’ve noticed and at this point I can’t say that I have all the answers. All I know is that I want to communicate better because I would like to know that people value communication with me. What are your thoughts?