Thoughts from dad to son…

Communicating Clearly 1

I personally believe that the importance of communicating clearly cannot be stressed enough especially in this day and age.  I witness it too often how unclear communication between people can cause some really serious situations.

I went out to get a haircut the other day – a Sunday.  On other Sundays, the usual barber shops that I go to are normally open.  That Sunday was a bit different as all of the barber shops I’ve gone to before for a haircut, were closed.  Perhaps it was because it was a long weekend (Monday being a holiday).  So, I looked for one that was open.

It was a small barber shop but not the run-by-the-mill kind with just one or two barbers.  This one had four busy barbers with two other seats to spare.  I waited my turn.  When my haircut was already underway, a somewhat elderly man began to raise his voice at one of the barbers.  I noticed in the background that they have already been talking but I didn’t pay attention to their conversation as it was none of my business.  Besides, I was busy with thoughts of my own.  But with the raising of the voice, it was impossible not to notice.  In fact, everyone else in the barber shop – customers and staff alike – paid attention.

Apparently, the elderly man (it wasn’t clear to me if he was a customer or just a guy who hangs around the barber shop with his other elderly friend) felt somewhat disrespected by one of the barbers.  He felt that the manner by which the barber told him to get a haircut from one of the other barbers who just finished with his customer, was disrespectful.  From the defense of the accused barber, he mentioned that he meant no disrespect of any sort.  The long and short of it, tempers began to flare and I actually thought they were going to get into a brawl.  Thankfully, the elderly man’s friend intervened by telling him to stop it unless he would want him to get a heart attack.  Even then, the elderly man still managed to make some trailing comments with his friend cutting him abruptly in order for him to just shut it.

In the course of the brewing argument, I witnessed how things got out of hand because both began to misunderstand each other even in the process of each defending his own.  I don’t know at what point it happened but one or both parties seemed to have just shut the other out to the point of merely standing his ground for the sake of not conceding that he was wrong.  Initial claims seemed to slightly change as their tempers escalated all in defense of one’s own position.  All-in-all, it was amazing how things got to boiling point in just a matter of seconds.  During those moments, images of tabloid headlines flashed into my mind – “Man killed inside barber shop for not wanting a haircut…”

I will say it again – I personally believe that the importance of communicating clearly cannot be stressed enough especially in this day and age.  So, son, it will do you well to learn how to communicate clearly.  And you know what?  I believe that the biggest part of communicating clearly is learning to listen very, very well.  Clear communication which brings about harmonious and life-giving relationships, is mostly about understanding the other person first, before seeking to be understood.

More on this in the future.  I love you, son!

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