Skip to main content

Seek First To Understand

Seek first to understand, is a phrase coined by Stephen R. Covey as one of his 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.  I started reading his library of books when I was a freshman at college.  I didn't just read his books, I studied his every word.

I have spent the majority of my life being misunderstood.  I can't remember a time when I wasn't misunderstood.  I don't think I have ever really gotten use to it but it is what it is.

When a strange turn of events landed me at a college in the United States I had no intention of attending, I tried to look at it as an opportunity to start fresh.  What better time to re invent yourself and slip out from under the stereotypes you were stuck in growing up than to move to another country.

The odd thing is, nothing changed at all.  I seemed to attract the same kind of energy of misguided assumptions, narcissistic people and  soul-less egos covering me with blanket statements of untruth.  It was hard and never ending.  Over the years, I have actually had several people I went to school with, who were contributors to some of the shaming thoughts that still replay in my head, find me and apologize for the way they treated me.  I felt very humbled by their courage to do that.

Yesterday, I took Sam out for lunch.  Just me and Sam.  Lately, he's been so defensive towards me, or so I felt.  My intention was to put a spark under him about making some hard decisions that need to be made...like now!   Decisions like sending in mission papers, patriarchal blessings, college applications, jobs...

As we drove to the restaurant, I opened my Mom mouth but the spirit caught me and the words of Steven Covey- seek first to understand came to mind.  So, instead, I told Sam how much I loved him and how proud I was of the way he has chosen to live his life.  He has become an amazing young man.  He was one of my hardest kids when he was little.  He was defiant in every way and hard to manage, even physical at times.  I worried about the kind of teenager he would be.  As a tender mercy, he has been my easiest, most pleasant teenager.  He loves and serves his friends and people around him.  He is sensitive and kind.  I told him about all the ways I see he is reflecting the light of Christ.

While we ate lunch, I asked, "Who do you feel the most pressure from about serving a mission, me, your dad, your siblings or your friends?"

With only slight hesitation, he said, "You."

I was flabbergasted!  I don't feel like I pressure him at all.  Again, I opened my MOM mouth to defend myself but instead...I knew I needed to listen.  He explained that I'm the only one who seems to care about his future.  No one else even asks what's coming next.  He translated my interest in his life to be a 'hassle' about making a decision.  I was grateful I had the opportunity to reconfirm that I didn't care what his decision was, I just wanted to make sure he felt supported and loved as he made the decision.  It's so easy to be confused and uptight but when we take the time to first understand...communication is so much easier.

In my mid-life unraveling, (as Brene' Brown calls it) I'm learning important lessons about life, love, my kids...and what's really important.
Photobucket

Comments

  1. I so needed this. I will implement with my 2 oldest, immediately. Thank you.

    ReplyDelete

Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

Some Results

I was surprised to get a brief update from our doctor this morning.

They did not catch any seizure activity last week.  She said that while that may be good news, it didn't rule out deep structure seizures.   I asked if the test gave any insight to the cause of the slowing of activity in her brain and these were her words.

" No, this does not give an answer ... But it is just one test, done one time ..."

We are still waiting on the MRI results.  I'm not losing hope.  I know, I play this game ALL THE TIME...I wish for problems that no one in their right mind would wish for.  I only do that because it's usually the option with a fix.  Of all the things they are considering to be an issue for Shelbie, seizures are the simplest explanation and medication would manage it.

I'm certain we aren't going to find a solution to her problems any time soon.  While I sat in the waiting room during her 2 hour MRI last Thursday, there was a couple in the room as well.  A…

Random Saturday

Whenever I feel like we are careening out of control, I declutter and clean.  By midnight on Friday, I had 1/3 of my living room filled with stuff I didn't want.  Today, I made a couple of trips to the thrift store and the dump.

Ahhh, I feel like I lost 20 pounds.

When Sam came home after his first week at school a while back, he said, "Wow, my room looks the same."

"What did you think your room would look like?"  I asked.

"Clean."

Turkey!  He came home this morning with his laundry and was a bit despaired.  He said, "Mom, you gotta help me with the smell in my apartment!  I can't stand it anymore! Do we have any Ozium?"

He went on to explain that there is no garbage disposal in the kitchen sink but food gets crammed down there anyways.  He said he keeps putting the little metal drains in that are meant to catch bits of food but his roommates take them out.  He's about fed up.  And while he was on his rant about boys and their leve…

A Witness

I was expecting just another run of the mill night at the gym last night.  The kind where the 'meat heads' stay at their end of the gym grunting and groaning to sound strong and I would claim a little corner in the room where the Yogi's hang out and Plank, and there I would Spin on a bike for a few miles, do some rowing, a little TRX and finish up with some free weights.

Last night though, I actually decided to do an easier workout and took an inclined walk on the treadmill.  There were no meat heads in far end of the gym.  No one really at the gym at all.  For the longest time, I kept pace with an old guy on a bike behind me.

But then, a man and his son came in.  I knew them.  I knew them well but they don't know just how well I know them.  They have a son who passed away from Cystic Fibrosis a little while ago, he would have been Spencer's age now.  They have a younger son who also has CF.  I knew his wife and mother in law back when my kids were being diagnosed.…