Posts Tagged With: talking

Car Talk

Friday Letter to My Kids (yup, on Saturday)

Dear J, J, L and L,

Ya’ll remember the Datsun, right? Or as someone used to call it, the Grasshopper, due to it’s non-functioning shocks. Well, at one point in its colorful existence, it was a brand new baby car, fresh off the showroom floor. Hard to believe, I know. Okay, maybe not totally fresh, it’d been on some test drives, so it had one thousand miles on the odometer.

Two doors, yes. Can you say "clueless future parents?"

Two doors, yes. Can you say “clueless future parents?”

I only bring this up because so many happy things occurred in that car. Conversations being the chief among them.

When Little J first found her voice she told stories that would start at Grandma’s house and not end until we arrived at our place thirty minutes later. Big J and I didn’t get a word in edgewise. Unless Whitney Houston came on the radio, then Little J would stop talking long enough to sing along with the lyrics to “The Greatest Love of All.” She loved, loved, loved that song. (She was three years old.)

But I digress.

Something about sitting in the confines of a vehicle brings out the conversationalist in each of you. Or at least, it did.

Maybe being side by side but without eye contact did the trick. Or perhaps the steady hum of the engine and scenery rolling past triggered some reflex in the larynx. It’s even possible that some chemical in the car interior prompted a letting down of emotional defenses.

It didn’t always work that way, but when we got a good one on one conversation going, it usually happened in a car with just two of us going somewhere.

I’d guess some of us logged more miles together than others. Daily drives to and from school, and fairly regular trips back and forth from lessons, sports, church stuff, doctor appointments, errands, performances and more. Some of you even endured/enjoyed a few just-one-of-you and me road trips. Maybe it all balances out to the same mileage for each of you.

I loved those talks.

Well, mostly.

To be honest a few arguments and screaming matches happened, too. We won’t pretend that never happened.

Some pretty loud silences filled the car on occasion as well.

There’s definitely conversations we should have had that never happened. And probably a few discussions that shouldn’t have occurred, although I can’t think of anything specific. And I ought to have been much more direct and less wishy-washy on more than a few occasions.

If you can learn anything from my mistakes that’d be great. I’m guessing you’ll make your own unique set of communication errors as a parent or as a spouse.

Not our actual car. Ours had a sunroof, remember?

Not our actual car. Ours had a sunroof, remember?

One thing I try to do when I look back at those good times and at those dang-it-I-shoulda-done-better times, I liken myself to our fresh-off-the-showroom-floor Datsun. The first ten to fifteen years of parenting I had hardly any miles worth noting. Not until I’d experienced  *frillions of bumps, detours, twists, construction zones, shortcuts, hills, side roads and breakdowns did I even begin to know what I was doing.  Even then, well, I’m an imperfect and many splendored flawed person grasshoppering down the freeway.

Having your good company has made all the difference as the numbers have skyrocketed on my odometer o’life.

I look forward to many more conversations with each of you in years to come. Here’s hoping you enjoy the many chats you get to have with your own little traveling companions.

All my love,


photo-23 copy 5

* Frillion: a psychological/mathematical term combining an astronomically high number with near insanity level nonsense and stress


“Sometimes I wish that I was the weather, you’d bring me up in conversation forever. And when it rained, I’d be the talk of the day.” ~ John Mayer

Categories: Communication, Family, Friday Letters | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

You Say Tomato, I Say Tamato

More ways than ever to pass on information hasn’t made communicating all that much clearer has it? Or has it? Here’s a few thoughts by other people about how humans attempt to interact.

“The most important thing in communication is hearing what isn’t said” ~ Peter Drucker

in utero email


“It’s hard to communicate anything exactly and that’s why perfect relationships

between people are difficult to find.” ~ Gustave Flaubert 

computer joke

If only…

“So much of language is unspoken. So much of language is comprised of looks and gestures and sounds that are not words. People are ignorant of the vast complexity of their own communication.”~ Garth Stein


There are definitely some dangerous side-effects to certain ways of communicating.

“The single biggest problem with communication is the illusion that it has taken place.”

~ George Bernard Shaw

Reminds me of Abelia Bedelia. Remember her?

Reminds me of Abelia Bedelia. Remember her?

Categories: Communication | Tags: , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Focusing on the Z in the Equation

Some people think I am one of those quiet people.

You know the ones I’m talking about? The kind of people who rarely speak up, who mutter incomprehensibly under their breath and who, when they do talk, barely squeak out a whisper. If anyone notices the quiet person has attempted to speak they can’t hear what’s being said.

“Huh?” serves as the most frequent response a quiet person hears from any and everyone.

Contrast that with the loud people. People who can’t seem to stop talking. Ever. People who feign shock and surprise if told there are other people in the room who have opinions, thoughts, voices. People who find silences, even the briefest of silence required by the intake of a breath between sentences, uncomfortable and unnerving.

Loud people take up all the space in a room, they absorb all the oxygen and leave no room or air for anyone else, quiet or medium people to say anything at all.

I’ll tell you something. The loud people get heard the most, but the quiet ones have most of the real answers.

Deutsch: 100 Jahre Relativität - Atome - Quant...

Do quiet people end up with their photos on stamps more often than loud people do? (Photo credit © Fred Stein)

The trick is getting the words out of the quiet ones.

You can’t just say, “Hey (insert quiet person’s name here) what do YOU think?”  That won’t work. Nope. Quiet people need, crave, desire, must have a clear and open runway, a wide berth big enough to land a 747 coming in with a tail wind and ice on the tarmac. Quiet people don’t want  interruptions mid sentence. They figure if what they have to say has value, (and it does, believe me,) then patience and attention dang well better be duly paid for the entire span of the answer.

None of this is conscious of course. Observant by nature, quiet people spend their time taking in details, mulling over ideas, seeing the irony, debating the pros and cons and generally becoming wise. That, or they’re slowly drilling a deep mine shaft of too much introspection and self-analysis. But not usually.

Quiet people tend to be deep in a good way, most of the time. Depth of character, depth of knowledge, depth of humor and wit.

Get a quiet person in the right frame of mind, in a small group of listeners and you’ll have a rollicking good time and learn a ton of stuff doing so.

A quiet person will always think they’ve taken up too much time and disclosed way to much personal information. Over-sharing. Yes. That word. They worry about over-sharing, in short they avoid TMI and WTMI (Too Much Information and WAY To Much Information.) Loud people excel at WTMI.

Quiet people do want their voices heard and understood.. One on one is best, but rare. A small group might get a quiet person to peek out from under their force field of silence and observation to actually launch a sentence or two, maybe even let loose a full paragraph. Depends on the group and their willingness to listen.

Don’t confuse a quiet person with a shy person. That’s a common mistake. Shyness slinks about in the shadows and makes every effort to keep a distance, avoids social situations. A quiet person still dives into the center of things, just not verbally.

Albert Einstein, a quiet person, thoughtful and brilliant, said the following:

“If A is a success in life, then A equals x plus y plus z. Work is x; y is play; and z is keeping your mouth shut.”

For the mathematically  inclined that looks like this:

A= x + y + z

A= success; x=work; y=play; z = keeping your mouth shut


Einstein (Photo credit: • Happy Batatinha •)

Einstein knew a thing or two about quiet people versus loud people. Loud ones don’t have time to think up things as brilliant as the theory of relativity . They’re too busy thinking up their next three sentences. Quiet ones will give you the world changing theories, the life altering insights, the unforgettable perspectives.

If you’re one of those quiet people, I’d encourage you to speak up a bit more. Maybe you need to write in a journal, practice spilling your thoughts onto a page. There’s a bunch of loud people out there who could benefit from what you’ve thought and observed. There’s a bunch of not so loud people who need your perspective and wit.

Be a little crazy. Get loud. Don’t mumble. Get your lungs behind those words and let them be heard.

You’ll be glad you did.

Categories: People, Relationships | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 9 Comments

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