Thursday, May 14, 2009

Language Lesson

Communication really is key. Let's see if I can remember how they put it in my college speech class. I believe it goes something like this: Transmitter >>> Message >>> Receiver. 

Yeah. That's it. What I don't remember covering in that class was anything beyond that dynamic and the principles of persuasion.  Specifically the problem of perception. 

As a parent-- and in their defense, as children, too-- this problem is raised up all the time. And the real frustration is its independence from intention, rhyme or reason. Although making rhymes does seem to lessen the blows. 

You guys know what I'm talking about. It's like when you say, "we need to straighten the house and clean our rooms," but the response was closer to, "you guys go rearrange your messes and then feel free to do whatever you want while I come over here and play in my kitchen."

Am I crazy? Or was that the EXACT OPPOSITE of the message I was trying to send. And I know this whole time, both sides of the communication process are using English. So that's not the issue. 

I know this for a fact, because the French lessons we got from Nikowa-- Merci' by the way-- still leave all three of us scratching our heads and saying deux. (In English the sound is "duh.") Hey, I'm the one with German, French, Spanish, Japanese, Arabic, Italian, Gaelic, Esperanto and Klingon dictionaries on the shelf. And the answer's not in any of those either. I know. I've looked...

No. It's perception. And it takes a bunch of open minds on both sides to clear things up. Parents gotta see things through Darth Vader masks sometimes, walk around in tiny ballet shoes and tutus for a while. And kids hafta add to the end of every stupid request their folks make the phrase, "because I love you very much and I honestly feel this is the best way I can help you become happy, healthy, smart and strong."

Once we all realize we're all speaking the same language, the message makes sense.

So good luck and blessings with yours! And tot ziens voor nu, Meneer Papa (that was Dutch)

4 comments:

Nikowa@KHA said...

wha? huh? LOL!

sgaissert said...

Very true! My child is super-sensitive to verbal misunderstandings, so I really know what you're talking about. Around here, we have to be clear!

The Stone Age Techie said...

What cracks me up is that I can magically take something perceived as Boring, Old, Been There/Done That - blueberry jam on toast, for example - and simply by referring to it as "Baked Eel Toast with Slimy Eel Jelly" it's the most popular breakfast dish around... for my eight- and four-year-old boys, anyway :-)
Thanks for this post, it is so true!

Mister Dad said...

That's funny. Just last week we learned the delicate art of "loading the question." The last one hit over the weekend with asking Mom if "she wanted to really watch one of those whole-hour long, old shows she sees all the time... OR PLAY THIS CRAZY COOL VIDEO GAME WITH BRAND NEW UNLOCKED LEVELS!!!" What a riot... for now.