Today would be Dad’s 82nd birthday. He and I shared a love for words, mine is for writing them, and his was for speaking them in front of an audience.
Learning how to express ourselves clearly and concisely helps us to connect with others under any circumstances.
Dad was a life-long member of Toastmasters International. Not only that, but for years he taught public speaking to teen boys and girls. Boys who were in Boy Scouts of America earned their public speaking merit badge following the course. I took his course and as an adult I have been a member of three Toastmasters chapters.
Dad taught us how to engage in effective communication, and to do so with confidence, because he knew that learning how to say what we mean was a skill that would serve us well as adults. He was proud of every one of his graduates, and concerned for the few kids who couldn’t conquer their fears and dropped out.
Learning to use words effectively to express ourselves is surprisingly difficult, even if we’re not speaking formally in front of a large group or writing for all to read. Continue reading
Years ago when Sister Pat and I lived in the same town, we would get together nearly every Wednesday evening for dinner at her house.
When we feel like whining, we can choose instead to get together with a friend and talk out what we’re really feeling.
She’d cook and I’d bring a bottle of wine. We gave each other the gift of unconditional listening as we’d discuss whatever was troubling us. There was no shortage of topics. She was recently divorced with a grown child, and I had divorced several years earlier and was raising two teenagers. Sometimes, we needed to solve problems, and sometimes, we just needed to vent. Misery loves miserable company.
We called those evenings our time for ‘wine and whine.’
At the end of the evening, we both felt better for having expressed ourselves in a safe venue. Sometimes we learned to look at our situations differently. Sometimes action was possible. Sometimes, we simply had to accept things as they were. Continue reading
When we open our minds, we break down the barriers that keep us isolated from others. Being open-minded requires that we recognize others can
Clouds respond to shifting winds while maintaining their fundamental weather purposes. We can respond to new information while maintaining our values and our relationships.
believe or act or live differently than we do and yet still be in our lives.
When we are open-minded, we take the time to understand the point of view, beliefs and experiences of others. To be open is to show respect, even when we do not agree, or even necessarily approve of the other person’s ideas or actions. To be open is to accept others for who they are, not for who we think they should be. To be open is to love the person, even when we cannot love the actions. Continue reading