Hello, God. Welcome to My Classroom

The Lost Art of Conversation

Posted in A Class Act by Linden Barrick on August 24, 2012
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Conversation, good conversation, takes skill. And it takes at least two participants. Carrying on meaningful conversation is becoming a lost art. The younger generation no longer knows how to communicate face to face using the spoken word.

Last week, my 8-year-old invited his best buddy over to play. They hadn’t seen each other all summer, so Colton was ecstatic. Actually, that’s an understatement. He resembled a pinball after waking at the crack of dawn. When we picked up Daniel, they sat in back seat talking excitedly. As I listened, I realized neither seemed very interested in what the other was sharing. They didn’t listen. They simply waited for their turn to talk.

Do you know any adults who do this? They don’t care what’s being said, and they never ask questions to find out more about another person or situation. Why would they? Hearing their voice is the main goal of speaking.

But why? Does their ego make them believe everyone is especially interested in what they have to say? Or is it a form of shyness because they think asking questions is nosy and intrusive? Or maybe they feel the need to impress others by talking themselves up. Whatever the reason, it’s an ineffective way to communicate and definitely not a good way to build relationships.

Yesterday was Autumn’s first day as an employee at Chick-fil-a. One of the directives she received from the owner was to talk to the customers and try to build relationships. Hallelujah! She’s always been reluctant to talk to people, even to order food or talk to a salesperson. With her friends, I’ve told her to quit texting and have an actual conversation because texts can be misinterpreted, feelings get hurt, and relationships suffer.

Again, conversation is a skill, and like any skill, it takes practice. The practice requires two people, and one of them must be listening. To listen, you can’t talk. Sometimes this is difficult, but as a reminder just remember the words LISTEN and SILENT are spelled with the same letters.

If you need a partner to practice conversation, try God. He’ll listen. And if you’re silent, he will definitely communicate with you.


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