We have a birthday coming up in a few days (Written earlier in December). My wife said let’s go shopping for this child and we made the purchase. Easiest shopping trip I’ve been on yet actually. We got home and stuffed the package out of sight for now. Gail mentioned that it was a Christmas present. I was like, “I was going to give this as her birthday gift.”
It’s funny (now) what happened next. The confusion on Gail’s face, the confusion on my face. It’s almost comical. To understand the miscommunication, you need to understand that our family is big enough and to make Christmas easier, we draw names and give those gifts. Gail and I usually get everyone gifts also. Several hours later (Yes, I’m a little slow), I realized that this child was the person Gail had drawn the name for. I was sitting there thinking, “What’s the big deal. As her parents we are going to get her a birthday present and we are going to get her a Christmas gift.”
Gail had assumed I knew that. I had assumed the gifts are interchangeable for Christmas or Birthdays. When I went up to Gail later and said, “I think I understand now. You had her as your person to get a gift for and you thought I was taking that away from you.” She looked at me like, “Duh!” We laughed.
How much do we miscommunicate with people though? How much do we miscommunicate with our family? How many disagreements are simply about miscommunication? Maybe we could all use a little help in just being better communicators. This is especially useful information as we celebrate with extended family.
Francis Bacon once said, “Reading maketh a full man; conference a ready man; and writing an exact man.” It’s that last part that haunts me. Writing makes an exact man. In other words, when you choose to write, you get clarity. I have recently taken to writing down my thoughts when Gail and I are in disagreement. It helps me to clarify, it keeps me from being interrupted. And it has helped me to process.
You and I need more clarity in the words we speak. Maybe we should follow the Bible writer James’ words: James 1:19 (NIV) “My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry”