I wish I could think of a good example.
I just know that while I was driving my daughter around the other day that she responded to me in a way that made me feel like I was looking in a mirror.
It was like a little biting sarcastic comeback to something that I said or question I asked that gave off this, “Hey, i love you, but that was a really dumb question, so I’m going to answer it, but veil it in a little smart-assy humor.”
Now, I appreciated the wit. But I realized right then that she got it from me.
I’ve responded to my family’s questions in a similar way. I involuntarily want to let them know the answer while also letting them know they should have already known the answer and didn’t need to take up my time asking it.
I say ‘involuntarily’ because somehow it has become a habit in my communication with my family.
I doubt I’m the only dad in the world that does this, but my standard isn’t what the ‘average dad and husband does.’
Why Should I Care?
I mean, there are times that the questions are plain lazy.
There are times when I’ve covered the topic, often within 5 minutes of the question being asked.
As a matter of fact, there should be an apology – to me! I’m the one who was offended and who wasn’t listened to.
But there are also times when I ask the same types of lazy questions. There are times when i don’t listen and have to ask someone to repeat something they just said.
I should care because I’m human and do the same things to others as folks often do to me.
What do I mean by ‘speaking plainly’?
I mean to learn to simply respond to my family with straightforward responses, without that sarcastic type of answer or that twisted look on my face.
I just need to learn to take a breath and respond simply and plainly to the statement or question because it’s about honoring my wife or my son or daughter.
I should speak plainly because to respond in a way that is sarcastic or annoyed or whatever, while it might prepare them for banter with their buddies at school, chips away at my ability to perform one task that I’m responsible as a dad: To help them feel safe, important, and loved.
Period. It’s a small way that I sort make relationship withdrawals without actually using that withdrawal to invest in making the relationship better. It’s a ‘take’ response.
I can’t be doing that.
Speaking plainly and responding kindly is probably one of the most powerful, yet subtle, ways to make those around you feel important, heard, and confident.
My thoughts on this are in progress.
We’ll stop here for now. Just being straightforward with you about that. Talk soon.