How many of you have people in your life that can practically say and or do anything and not got in trouble? If I said or did some of the things that this person says or does, I would either get a call from Human Resources asking for me to turn in my badge or I would get punched or slapped in the face. When this individual says or does these things he gets a laugh and a hug.
I’ve nicknamed this person the Wizard because he must cast some type of spell on the people he interacts with and gets away with murder. I once asked him how he does it? His response, “it’s the delivery, but don’t try it, you’re not ready.” I’m pretty sure his response was an insult, but I smiled and walked away.
One of the greatest gifts our senior population has to offer is their life experiences and wisdom. I’ve written about how much I learn from the very young and very old on numerous occasions. The young presents a level of honesty unaffected by bias and experience. Be careful what you ask of the very young as their filters have not become fully developed.
Speaking to seniors offers a chance to learn from those who have seen and done what we have yet to experience. On almost every discussion or interaction I have with someone who is older, I not only get to enjoy a conversation, but there is a lesson to be learned. I’m unsure if they do it on purpose or if it’s the result of their experience or knowledge.
Whatever the reason is, I’m better because of our conversation. I think back many years when my parents were alive and in their 80’s, both still vibrant and active, discussing and offering advice. Many of those discussions resulted in me ignoring the deeper meanings, only now realizing the value and importance. I guess you need to be older to appreciate and value old.
The Art of Communication
Here’s an idea…listen more than you speak. Ask open ended questions about the person with whom you are speaking. Eliminate saying “I.” Make eye contact and be aware of your body language matching your message, specifically your listening skills. Congratulate or affirm what the person is speaking about and reflect rather than change the discussion to you.
Speaking from experience, I know I am much less interesting than I once thought and others have known this forever. You’re not the one that everyone finds irresistible or fascinating all the time. Yes, we all have moments, but for the most part if we can focus on others rather than ourselves, we are contributing to the common good for all.
There was a time in my past and occasionally it still rears its ugly head, but winning is not the most important end to all. The engagement and process is where the learning evolves and the important result is not whether you have won or lost, but what was understood and achieved throughout the event.
Winning provides happiness, a sense of well-being, a feeling of accomplishment, but many times fails to require a thorough self-examination or introspection. Losing, failing, falling, getting knocked down, struggling in school, work issues, relationship problems, etc… require changing, getting help, admitting your mistakes, working harder, saying your sorry, etc… What’s the message? You can’t quit, don’t give up, learn from your mistakes, and move on. Failing provides an opportunity for growth. Enjoy the wins, but learn from the losses and mistakes.
Thanksgiving and Christmas are right around the corner and the holidays seem to come faster and faster each year. Julie and I are going to try something different this year and our children and grandchildren are going to be invited to join. Invited is a kind word substituted for required. If they choose not to participate it will be reflected in their special Christmas envelope. Money is a great motivator!
This season we are going to give more to others less fortunate. We are hoping to adopt an anonymous family who are struggling and provide them with a wonderful Thanksgiving meal and a Merry Christmas with presents for all. I’m asking you if you know of a family or an individual that is struggling and could use a helping hand. Please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org with the details and we will develop a plan to help. If anyone else out there would like to join and participate, please contact me as well and will do this together. There is strength in numbers.
Hope your October was great. Have a great November and I look forward to sharing Only in Rome with all of you next month. Please remember to pray for those in need and it’s ok to pray for yourself as well. Happy Thanksgiving and I’ll see you all before Christmas.