By Jennifer Hilton. Jennifer and Cathy Wilder are leading Communication Fundamentals at the Haven, September 25–28. This program, created and first led by Ernie and Cathy McNally, is an in-depth exploration of how The Haven Communication Model can help you in the art of self-responsible relational living.
I like words. I like knowing the meaning of words. That doesn’t surprise me: my family has always been vocal and in the past, when they were apart from each other, they wrote letters. I come from five generations of sea captains who sent letters across many oceans, for many years – letters that were read and re-read by those at home. In those days, letters took months to reach their destination and were often saved for years.
My mother carries on the tradition, keeping letters I write. I am of the generation that wrote letters to family and friends, the early ones being forced (“thank-you” letters) and later for enjoyment and the anticipation of receiving one in return. Even though I didn’t have to wait as long as my grandmother did for a reply, it sometimes seemed a lifetime before it finally arrived. I loved going to the mailbox and finding a hand-written letter!
No longer do we have to wait for a ship to sail to know we will hear from someone. However, the term “hearing from someone” implies that there is a space between sending and receiving – a vast listening time. Today talking, texting, emailing, blogging, and tweeting cut that listening time into tiny pieces. Daily, as I engage in modern communication of any kind, I’m often overwhelmed with words, drowning in ideas, unable to concentrate on any one thing. I have to consciously slow down and create listening time!
One of the things I valued most about learning the Haven Communication Model is how, when I consciously choose to “follow the flow”, I can create more space in my thinking, talking and listening … especially when I slow things down.
Slowing down does not come naturally to me. But I know that when I do choose slow, I’m conscious of a lot of things that I would miss if I were going “fast”. Fast has its purpose, but what I am continually discovering is that if I want to improve in something, I have to back off and slow down. This applies to just about everything in my life, but especially communication.
In the past, letter writing was slow. Waiting for a reply to a letter was even slower. Those days are past – today we can communicate across the world in a heartbeat. But there is a great deal to be said for slowing down, pausing to breathe while talking. And making space to just LISTEN!
Join me and Cathy this September 25–28 for Communication Fundamentals!