Communication Dance

When I talk to my parents and inquire about how they are doing in general or in any specific area: the answer is always we are fine, just fine. What I observe when I am with them is the difference of how they move or operate now compared to previous years. I see a big difference. Is this fine because they really think everything is OK or because they have accepted the changes and I have not?
This is where our communication dance becomes complex. I think we are in a dance where I try to uncover issues and they cover or minimize any issues that come up. My big laugh comes because this is our family pattern in exact reverse. Growing up, my parents asked the questions and I covered up at every opportunity and minimized any issues I had.
I think every family has their practiced communication patterns. I have found they get mixed up or turned upside down as we all slide into different roles based on aging needs and changing abilities.
So, what do you do now? I have found listening and really listening is what gives me the best idea of how my parents are doing. I try to be curious about a topic and ask with interest instead of demanding to know why something happened. This practice has met my need for getting more depth of information from just phone conversations.
Try stepping back and looking at your current communication patterns with your family? Are they working? What would happen if you practiced just listening?

Only one thing done

One thing done is a good day

I am staying with my parents this week.  What I realize is that staying with them means operating on a different time schedule. The answer to:  how long will it take to do anything?  As long as it takes.

So what I get to learn is that pick one thing to accomplish each day and only one thing. Now that is a different mind set for me.  I typically set up pages of things to accomplish each day. I find the value of working with my parents is that I learn to pick the most important thing for the day.

And that important thing for them is not always what I think is the most important thing.

That forces me to ask myself, “ who do I serve here?” I have slowly learned how to be there for them and not take over their life.  It is a gift to be able to add value to a loved ones’ life and enjoy the things that they want to do.  It is a challenge to balance my ideas of important with their needs.

I start to appreciate the value of letting the little things stay undone. I now understand how much of my do to list can be the little things.  So here is my challenge to you. What would happen if you started each day with a clear idea of your most important goal for the day?

Do you have a good method for sorting the little things out for the important things? Some days this is hard because everything feels urgent and important.

Here are a few questions to help you sort.

What would happen if I did not accomplish this today?

In the big picture of life what is the value of this thing I want to accomplish?

Who does it serve?