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Image attribution: Wall Street by thetaxhaven, 2012, www.flickr.com
"He was decaffeinated!!"
"What?" came my reply to the pair of big blue eyes staring up at me in shock.
"He was decaffeinated! The main guy in the movie!!"
It took my mind a few seconds to grasp what he was getting at.
"Oh! You mean decapitated?" I replied without thinking. "I mean, you're right! Decaffeinated! - Wait, where did you hear this word?"
"The big kids were talking about it."
Quickly trying to assuage his concern, I shrugged my shoulders.
"Oh! Well, he probably drank too much decaf coffee. I'm sure he'll be OK." I couldn't tell if he had bought my explanation and dismissal of his statement, but from the look on his face I think he was relieved.
Communication. Proper communication. Just how important is it? So important that thousands of how-to books, ebooks and programs on every aspect of communication can be found online and in stores everywhere. So important that millionaires have flourished and millions of dollars have been made through developed seminars that can be attended throughout the world on this very topic. There is even a college degree with its name - Communications.
Lately, communication has been a hot topic in my family. For some reason, we just can't seem to get onto the same page. Although likely due to our craziness of life and the need to fulfill many commitments, our conversations rival those at the Tower of Babel.
Me: "Guys! Time to get going!"
Child #1 entering the room in distress: "Mom...I can't find my shirt! I had it right here but it's missing!"
Me, confused: "Why are you in your uniform? That's tomorrow!"
Child # 2 - entering the room, emotions in full dramatic swing: "Mom! I almost died!"
Child #1: "What? I thought you said it was today! "
Me explaining to Child #1: "No, I have a meeting today."
Me addressing Child #2: "What do you mean you almost died?"
Me back to Child #1: "I'll leave the younger ones home with Dad and drop you both off at the field while I get to my meeting at the Church."
Child #4, calling down from upstairs: "Mom!"
Child #2: "I tried climbing the wall but fell off!"
Me, relieved but annoyed: "Then stay off of the wall."
Child #2:"When will we get picked up?"
Me: "Still not sure...we'll have to wing it!"
Child #3, still calling from upstairs: "Mom! Did you get the email I sent?"
Child #4 entering the room with a look of disgust: "Mom...the cat threw up on the couch!"
Me, groaning: "We'll have to clean it up later...we've got to go!"
Child #3, exasperated: "Mom! Did you get my email?"
Me, watching the clock ticking at lightening speed: "No! I'll check when I get back! We've got to to go!"
Me: running out the door to wait in the car: Blessed Silence.
Sometimes our conversations can feel like we are on the floor on Wall Street in the middle of the throng of traders - is anyone really hearing anybody? And, if you are blessed enough to be surrounded by people who love to talk like my family, the challenge to truly hear each other escalates substantially.
Proper communication should be considered a virtue in many respects. The reason it can't be considered a singularly great virtue is because communicating effectively requires the use of more than one virtue: i.e. patience, kindness, and, most of all, love. Perhaps this fact alone is enough to explain why proper communication is such a difficult skill to master.
Communication is so vital to Christian living that the Holy Spirit, sent as the Paraclete, was sent to break down those communication barriers so present in the days of Jesus so that the ears of the people could truly hear and hearts could be truly opened to what the Apostles had to say during and after Pentecost.
Those same communication barriers still exist today. And the Holy Spirit is still here to help break down those walls. However, we need to ask Him. We need to realize that our communication with others can only be as effective as our willingness to allow the Holy Spirit into our conversations is.
Today, let's stop and ask the Holy Spirit to enter into our conversations throughout the day. Let's ask Him to not only guide our words, but give us the wisdom needed to listen well to what others are communicating to us.
Proper communication: success in almost anything depends on it.
May we never underestimate it's power as we endeavor to change the world!
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