Where Do I Begin
When Maggie and I first got together, one of my big ‘selling’ points contributing to our relationship was that I was highly skilled at building and maintaining instant rapport with children. Although I never had any kids of my own from my previous marriage of 23 years, I had taught private music lessons specializing with youth for decades. In fact, Maggie and I met when she enrolled her eldest daughter – now my step-daughter – at my music school.
Now, nearly four years later, something has happened to my wonderful gift of communicating with kids. Or perhaps, more correctly, I neglected to upgrade, install and run the ‘Family’ version of my communication with children program, thinking that my ‘Private Teacher’ edition would suffice. This is sort of like trying to run Windows on a Mac… it’s possible, but who, in their right mind, would want to do it this way?
OK, call me crazy!
Trained Professional in Communication With Children – Don’t Try This At Home
I don’t mean to brag here, but it’s so magical that even I am in awe of my power to effectively speak with kids. I recently enrolled two new students because of my ability to instantly bond with kids. When the little six year old and eight year old brother and sister peered up at their parents with a look that said, “We LIKE this guy”, both mom and dad were sold immediately.
Qualifications, experience, location, time of class, even my fees,… no objection. There was no, “Let us go home and think about it.” Within ten minutes the parents had all the information they needed to make a firm decision. Most important was that the kids bonded to me quicker than instant glue. In my experience, the old saying is 100% accurate, “People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.” My knack for talking on a child’s level had come through again.
So where does this wonderful magic go when I’m at home?
This Guy Calls Himself a Child Communication Expert?
If you’re a parent, I’m sure there were times when you were talking with someone outside of your home – maybe a neighbor, teacher, or a long-distance relative – and a few minutes into the conversation, you suddenly realized, “Hey, that’s my kid she’s talking about!” The way that person spoke didn’t even remotely describe how you perceived your child.
Admittedly, I’m a different person at my music school than I am at home. My step-daughter also is a different person in my classroom than she is at home. At school, we get along great! That’s because my ‘Private Teacher’ copy of the communication with children program allows me to:
- Be the teacher – I give the instruction and my students instantly, and without question execute my command. Sadly, this function does NOT exist on the ‘Family’ version of communication with children as most parents well know.
- Work in blocks of 30 to 60 minutes – I know at the end of an hour, the student is going home and I won’t see her again for a whole week. So even in the rare case where we have a ‘bad’ class, I can simply reboot my program for the next student. Again, this feature is not included on the ‘Family’ edition.
- Be extremely efficient and focused – having a limited amount of time requires a tightly organized and carried out agenda. My personally designed and carefully constructed routine is performed to perfection according to my exacting standards. Alas, the ‘Family’ communication with children release makes this virtually impossible due to multiple overlapping and often overriding agendas and – ‘GASP’ – sometimes NO AGENDA at all with allowance for relaxation. Can you imagine?
Who Says You Can’t Teach An Old Dog New Talking Tricks?
“If you keep doing what you’ve always done, you’ll keep getting what you’ve always got.” That was the conversation theme last night as Maggie and I discussed the need for both of us to improve communication with our girls. As we are accustomed, we chatted openly and animatedly for nearly two hours before concluding that ‘something has to change’.
Like a team coming out of a half-time huddle, we left that little heart to heart with a renewed commitment to be the solution. With the realization that lasting changes happen slowly over time, we are developing our own version of “Communication with Children – Deluxe Family Edition”. Here are some of the elements that are vitally important to our situation. (of course, every family is different):
- How to Use Questions to Draw Your Kids Into the Conversation
- How to Listen – and Really Hear – What Your Children Are Telling You
- The Magic of Acknowledging and Validating Your Child’s Perspective
- The Two Most Important Things You Should Do (Before You Say No)
and much more!
Of course, every family is different and you’ll have to do a bit of work to come up with your own strategies. If you’ll notice, our list is comprised mostly of listening skills… as in OUR LISTENING SKILLS. Maggie and I found ourselves constantly complaining that our kids NEVER listened to us. One day, it dawned on us that we NEVER listened to them either. Ancient Wisdom constantly reminds us to ‘give first that which we wish to receive’.
Make no mistake, like practically every other program out there, this “Communication with Children – Deluxe Family Edition” is definitely NOT a magic bullet. There is a learning curve and there will be some hard work involved. In fact, the more challenge your current family situation presents, the greater the growth you can expect to achieve from installing and running this practical plan of action.
Happiness is a personal decision only you can make for yourself. Then when you further decide to improve the way you talk to, with, and about children and other members of your family, you begin to build a foundation of habits that will naturally spread out to your community and beyond. How will you feel when you improve your relationship with your kids? I don’t know about you, but for Maggie and I, we’re gonna Love That Feeling!
The world can seem like a crazy place sometimes… OK, a LOT of the time! However, no matter what is going on in your life, magic happens when you learn how to choose better feelings now! You’re Gonna Love That Feeling