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Friday, June 6, 2014

It's Important to communicate. Isn't it ?

" You must learn to communicate with friends . It is really important to be in touch with friends, listen to them, and ,of course, speak to them". This was yours truly ,trying to drum wisdom ( mine) and perspective( again mine) into my 16 year old son. That this drumming of wisdom and perspective was not helping matters ,on the contrary making matters worse, was quite lost on me - so involved was I  in trying to evolve the boy into an articulate, polished ,suave communicator.

Next in the line of my evangelist fervor about the importance of communication  was the daughter . She was just back from a summer internship and silent on  whether she was taking  up the firm's ( a leading investment bank) offer of a pre placement offer. Naturally, as a mother,  I took it on myself to sort out her confusion by trying to advise her on what would be best for her in the long run and , err, in the short run too. She heard me out for exactly five minutes and then just said," can we discuss this later,please?" Affronted,I launched into my spiel of how matters needed to be discussed, that she needed to communicate her views ,that parents  should be kept in the loop etc etc. She heard me out silently and then left the room.

I kept the phone down, slightly puzzled about the tone and tenor of the conversation just concluded with my friend. Was she sounding a wee bit off or was that my imagination working overtime? Twenty four hours later, when I caught myself still thinking about it, I decided that communication was the need of the hour and messaged my friend . The crux of the  message was: hope everything is o.k- just thought you sounded a wee bit off yesterday- hope I haven't said anything unknowingly to upset you...Within  minutes my phone rang. It was my friend. She roundly scolded me for my 'hyper imaginative mind' ,said she was o.k and that after 25 years of friendship it was very foolish of me to imagine that she would ever get upset with me....

' See, this is the reason why I keep drilling why communication is so important. If I hadn't messaged aunty I would have continued being  a troubled soul  and..." The son and daughter look at me in silence. They wait for me to draw breath and then the daughter speaks out. " Mum, if you are such an effective communicator then how is it you never realized that I was seriously unhappy during my internship?I spoke to you daily ,told you how I didn't really see myself as an investment banker . When I come back home I realize that you have not realized that I do not want to go back".

 Now it's the turn of the  son . Is that love or pity , or both, on his face? " Mom, I spend a lot of time with my friends in school. When I come back home I don't see why I have to be wired to them constantly. This does not mean that I am not communicating with them. They are my friends and they understand me".

I look at the two. They are right. In my zeal and zest for turning them into effective communicators I had forgotten that communication is not about talking only. It is equally about listening to things spoken and unspoken. It is also for understanding that sometimes silence is more eloquent than words. I had been true to the lyrics    "...I'm talking and talking/ But I don't know /How to connect...".

I smile at my children. They smile back. Nothing is said but we understand each others feelings .

 This is communication .

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