So there they were, my father and my daughter...two of the most important people in the world to me, taking a leisurely stroll on a beach on the north shore of Long Island.
It did my heart good to see these two enjoying each other's company. My dad has always been a loving grandparent and Jill, while at THAT age is a wonderful, well adjusted kid who does well interacting with adults.
When they got back I saw a pleasant look on my daughter's face, as if she had just enjoyed a few moments with a special person.
My father had a similar look, alhtough with a wrinkled brow. He found me a few minutes later and told me he liked the walk but had a harder time relating to Jill than he was used to.
So he asked me, "how do you talk to a 14 year old?"
Now I know my kid pretty well. I know what she's interested in, what will get her talking nonstop. And it's not off the chart stuff. Jill likes Broadway...everything about it.
So I told him. First I mentioned her passion for the theater. If he asks her about Broadway he may not get a chance to speak for the rest of any conversation they may have. But he'll also make a friend for life simply because of her interest in the subject.
And I told him something he already knows, but forgot in his concern to relate to his granddaughter...
If you talk to anyone about the thing they're interested in, it will be a good conversation from their point of view.
And if you really LISTEN to what they say, and show it by asking good questions and feeding back important information, you'll probably have a friend for life.
We all know this. When a grandparent or favorite aunt or anyone else we love talks with us, it's usually about our own interests. Or it's about theirs, and we're so involved in what they have to say we take it on as our own passion (at least during the conversation.)
How many ways can this be applied in your own life? Potential business partners or customers? Potential dates? Potential ways to get out of traffic tickets?
It has to be genuine of course. And that takes a little more energy than many of us are willing to put forward.
But look at the upside. Those you love will appreciate your interest enough to cut you a lot of breaks when you do or say something that doesn't sit well with them.
You become much more attractive than those who need to express their own points of view, as if you are just the closest person around to talk at.
Talk to that 14 year old in your life (no matter their age) the way you would want to be talked to. Talk WITH them. Be interested and excited in their interest and excitement.
And see how quickly it comes back to you!
Hi Larry and Forum Fellows!
I really liked this post! Watching people connect, enjoying it, and then using it to think about how we connect with others--the real stuff of everyday life! And it has a positive feel.
One of my favorite parts of parenting is watching my kids interact with the world--just being people out there, beings in their own right.
Keep it coming!
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