Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Failure to Communicate

Feb. 18, 2015

“People fail to get along because they fear each other, they fear each other because they don’t know each other; they don’t know each other because they have not communicated with each other.” – Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Last month, we celebrated a day of service in remembrance of Dr. King.  It was on that day that a friend of mine posted the above quote on his Facebook page. It truly resonated with me when I read it and the more that I have pondered it since then, the more I think that it completely and totally applies to the here and now, as much, if not more, than it did to the time when it was originally orated. 

Many things have gone through my mind since reading this quote. Our failure to communicate, as a nation; as a race – the human race that is; as parents; as teachers; as employees; as employers; as leaders; as citizens; as any living, breathing person of any race, creed, religion, nationality, origin, etc.; is, in my opinion, presently beyond failure. 

We’ve got children who have no clue how to verbalize a complete and coherent sentence to someone, because the only forms of communication that they have, are text messaging or snap chats. We have leaders – our elected officials – who constantly refuse to communicate with one another and with their constituents in order to enact laws and policies, that are for the good of the nation and the people with in it, whether it be because of “party lines” or “attention seeking”. We have bosses who no longer have the first clue as to how to lead by example, nor communicate to their employees, because they use yelling and intimidation tactics in order to get the “work” done. We have teachers, that instead of being able to truly know their students and impart wisdom upon them, are forced to spend their days with crowded classrooms so they barely have time to know the child’s name, let alone know anything about them, and they are forced to teach to a standardized testing system that is supposed to measure a child’s “progress” in their classes and to hold them accountable for their work. This communication failure goes even further beyond the borders of our own counties, states, country. It is not just a localized issue. 

See, this is a bigger problem than I’d originally thought of when I read Dr. King’s quote. We don’t communicate to one another. If there is any talking done, it is usually “at” someone instead of “with” someone. There is a big difference between listening and hearing, just like there is a big difference between talking with and talking at. What would happen within a school, a county, a state, a country, a company, a world, where people talked to each other, truly got to know one another, and embraced the things that make us all different and all unique? I honestly don’t know if I could even begin to fathom what that might be like. 

I do know that for communication to work, there has to be complete honesty involved; even if that honesty might not be the thing that we really want to hear at the time – I never said it’d be easy. But what would that be like? To deal open and honest with everyone and for all communications to be wholeheartedly participated in by both parties in the honest giving and receiving of information?

I am guilty of the non-communication thing too. I tend to rely on emails and text messaging to communicate with people. I don’t like talking on the phone, and haven’t since my days in sales, but in all actuality, that is a complete cop-out, isn’t it. I am just as guilty of shutting myself off from the world as everyone else. So trust me when I tell you, this article applies to me as well as to anyone else that finds themselves in the same boat . 

What are your thoughts on this? Is there a way that we can begin to truly communicate to one another? I’m interested in what you all have to say. Let me know!

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