Misunderstanding the Distance – Wise Words Wednesday
Misunderstanding creates painful separation. The most painful part of that separation comes from the fact that it could have been prevented if communication had been clear.
Misunderstanding is bred from hastiness or failure to fully witness what is being shared.
Recently, a student submitted the wrong document for his assignment. I entered a zero in the grade book, wrote a comment for him to send the correct assignment to me (so that I could give points for his actual paper), and emailed him a message about the assignment. He did not come to our next class. He did not respond to my email. Two days later he replied to my comment in our online grading program, “What was the problem with my work? I turned it in. What do you want?”
Clearly, he was angry because he did not understand what the problem was. I replied by copying and pasting my original message and a smiley face.
He never replied. At our next class, he was present and said that I had not explained the assignment. I pulled out the sample document I gave the class, showed the page in the text with the sample we shared, and redirected him to the PowerPoint with the notes and assignment that was shown in class. His response, “Oh, I forgot.”
I was hurt that he accused me of not providing enough information to foster understanding. Never would I want to provide a lesson that created misunderstanding. That is the worst distance between student and teacher.
At bedtime last night, my four year old kept coming into the kitchen, where I was working, and asked “When will you play with me?” (At least that’s what I thought he said.) I felt bad, but it was bedtime. I said, “Buddy, it is bedtime. We will play tomorrow.” He stomped his feet and balled his fists, “NO, not play with me; when will you pray with with me?” My heart broke. Not only had I failed to communicate with my focus that it was bedtime, I had failed to communicate with my intent and actions. Cleaning up the kitchen and preparing for the next day had trumped our bedtime ritual and left my little guy feeling forgotten and misunderstood.
I scooped him up, carried him back to bed, and we prayed our bedtime prayers. He stayed in bed. Again, failure to fully witness what was needed led to a gap in what was received.
“The worst distance between two people is misunderstanding.”
Can you think of a time when you had to overcome a misunderstanding to heal a relationship?
If there is someone in your life that has grown distant, reach out to them. Place intent on discovering what has led to the distance. Work to bridge that gap and fully understand what your relationship needs. When our energy broadcasts a willingness to be present for one another, our relationships will be preserved with positive intent and healthy connections.
By: Melanie A. Peters
P.S. The shortest distance between two people is a hug.
P.P.S. For a refresher lesson on communication from our cattle operation visit Communication is necessary. No Bull! 🙂