I think that communication skill is one of the single most – if not the single most undervalued yet utterly essential skills in being a parent, a husband or a wife.
Reasons to be a skilled, competent communicator abound.
- Who of you has shaken their head in contempt of the parent you see at the grocery store screaming at their kids? It’s pretty much a given that only a very, very small percentage of parents actually mean to inflict permanent harm on their children and intend to verbally abuse them until they die. My theory is that the rest are likely are at their wits end of how to actually control and communicate with their children. The kids, having lived through years of poor communication and poor control, probably are at their wits end too on how to communicate with mommy.
- Parents yelling at each other, unable to communicate, is the single biggest destabilizing influence in a child’s life. Seriously. The one thing that needs to stay stable in a kids life to keep them sane, is for there always to be “mommy” and “daddy” and that “daddy & mommy love each other and love me”. Now what happens if mommy can’t get daddy’ to listen to her simple demands, and daddy is a jerk and yells at mommy to shut up, and then when general communication failure happens and coffee cups start flying, what happens to the kids? Suffering, big time.
- Tantrums: Today, walking down by the Lincoln Memorial, I saw a family happily walking along pushing a stroller – and in that stroller was a Tasmanian-devil-look-alike child of about 3, flailing her legs and arms in a near-blur, screaming bloody murder. Mom had a look on her face of, “oh, she always does this,” and the dad had this look of, “well, dear let’s just look like we’re enjoying the day”. HOW ABOUT COMMUNICATING TO YOUR KID GUYS??? Maybe find out what’s up? Maybe have them look around and communicate with the environment a bit?Boggling, but it was obvious that the parents gave up long ago on communication, and have resorted instead to pretending communication problems don’t exist.
As people who grew up in Scientology, it definitely wasn’t lost on my wife and I that in order to be good parents, we had better sharpen up on our communication skills. Not that either of us was bad to begin with, but as such an important subject – especially with the “terrible twos” not too far away (the “terrible” aspect of them commonly agreed to be a result of the two-year-old not being able to communicate their thoughts to the parents) – we thought we’d better brush up.
So, we enrolled at our local Church of Scientology on the new Success Through Communication Course – a course available to anyone, and one that specifically teaches the art and skill of guiding and controlling communication.
The course focuses on all of the real-world aspects of communication, one at a time. Aspects like being a good listener (something just about every husband in the world could use brush-up on) and being able to effectively handle upsets, and to get ones point across despite interference.
My wife and I just came home from our third course period working on the course. We’re doing the course together as a “twinship”, meaning that we are taking turns getting each other through each of the communication drills in the course.
And doing this course together as a married couple is magic. To sum it up in a sentence, after every course period, I’ve finished off the day more utterly in love with her than I’ve ever been.
The reason for this is really simple. We’ve gotten to each individually take up, and drill out of each other, bad communication habits that we’ve picked up in dealing with each other. Things that we’ve grown to do with each other over 10 years of marriage that frankly are annoying. Times when I tune her out if she drones on, or times she tunes me out when I go off on some long-winded technical explanation of something. Or just simply being comfortable being there and listening to her and her to me.
It really is truly magical.
The course is designed such that anyone can pick it up and start immediately. It’s streamlined and its easy, and if you approach it with the view that there is something you can learn about communication, it will change your whole life.
And I’m positive that it’s making me into a much better husband and a more competent daddy.