Monday, August 8, 2011

Perfect Moment Monday -- Pass the Parmesan Cheese, Please!

Each week I participate in Perfect Moment Monday, sponsored by the blog, According to Lavender Luz, "Perfect Moment Monday" is about noticing a perfect moment rather than creating one. Perfect Moments can be momentous or ordinary or somewhere in between." And so, here is a Perfect Moment for this week.

My Blogging Confession..."Forgive me, readers, for I have taken a breather. It's been over a month since my last blog post." :)

OK. I feel better getting that off my chest!

The great news is that I have lots to write let's start with a Perfect Moment.

We've been living in Pennsylvania for a little over three weeks (driving here from Colorado). Since everything is new, we've all been going through LOTS of adjustments.

Our house is different. Our community is different. Our routine is completely different. Everything feels new and different.

The only thing that is not different is the people in our family. But even that is not a true statement. I am watching each of us change as we move from day to day. Here's an example:

Tom and I were sitting with Bryce and Ryan (the 14-year old twins) at the table. That afternoon we had registered them for school and were given the materials to select their specific courses when we meet with their counselor, about two weeks away.

At dinner, we looked through the catalogs to determine the requirements, classes, credits, etc. The tension was building as Tom wanted to discuss the options and the boys were stuck on a "NO" stance. It seemed that for each door, each opportunity that we were opening for them, they were immediately shutting it (and sometimes slamming it).

The tension reached an all-time high. Tom got up from the table and said, "I've had enough."

Bryce and Ryan tried to apologize, but their efforts seemed less than genuine and only escalated Tom's frustration. So much so that he (are you sitting down?)...unplugged the wireless Internet. You would have thought he cut off their right legs!

The boys immediately wanted to talk to me because any effort they made to talk to Tom was flatly refused. Bryce and Ryan explained their frustrations and their feelings...and I listened.

I went upstairs to talk to Tom, who shared his frustration and his feelings. As with most confrontations, both sides had legitimate concerns, but NO communication was happening and so the problem remained unsolved.

I was in the middle, listening to both sides, but unable to help them communicate to each other. Until I saw one of the boys tapping on their beds with the drumsticks we had gotten them from the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, one of our great sight-seeing stops we took on our trek east.

The "talking stick." Yes. We could use the talking stick to help us communicate.

We all gathered in the living room as I explained how the talking stick works. You can only talk when you hold the stick. When you pass the stick, the second person explains what they heard the first person say and the second person asks for confirmation that they heard and interpreted correctly. The second person then goes on to express their thoughts and feelings...passing the stick (to the next person who would like to speak) when they are done.

And so it went. We passed the stick around the room doing some of the best active listening (communicating) I have ever witnessed my family doing...ever. And, we were able to each express our frustrations, our thoughts and our feelings...and know that we were heard and understood.

The talking stick slows down the conversation, but it is SO much more effective.

A couple of nights later, when all five of us (James included) were finishing dinner, we had the same type of discussion, but this time we used our Parmesan cheese as "the talking stick"...and it worked again. We had a great discussion where each person felt heard and understood. It doesn't mean we all agreed, but there was a common understanding, love and respect that we had for each other.

A love for our sameness and for our differences.

The joke now in our family when a difficult subject arises is someone saying..."Pass the Parmesan cheese please," which means they would like to talk, be heard, listen and respond.

Watching his unfold and thinking/hoping that each of the boys would take these skills with them into their own relationships, their work situations, their own families and communicate effectively...was Perfect.

Could you please pass the Parmesan Cheese?

If you'd like to check out more Perfect Moment Mondays go to by clicking here.

1 comment:

Lori Lavender Luz said...

Love this. Hearing/understanding someone is the best gift we can give. Being heard/understood is the best gift we can receive. You are so wise to have intuited all that from a drum stick!

Kudos to your boys for their eventual breakthroughs.

I'll never look at parmesan the same again :-)