Thursday, May 22, 2008

Communication: Ups and Downs

I have been told that I'm a "transparent" writer, but I do find it easier to put feelings and intentions down on paper than I always can on the spur of the moment in conversation. You can't hit backspace when you're talking, unfortunately.

I have recently had some tense conversations with some people who run a class that my older kids attend. One of the board members has always been someone that I had a hard time talking to, probably because we are too much alike. She's sometimes terse and can come off as abrasive, but there is still something very likable about her. She ended up being the conduit for information between the board and I, and I've spent the last couple of months feeling much like a very squeaky wheel. I was aware of speaking for myself, and also for some other parents who didn't approach the board directly, despite my strong encouragement.

Today I had the opportunity to speak to another board member, and to reflect on the conversations I have had with the first one. I'm so glad that the opportunity presented itself, because I have found a kindred spirit that I didn't expect, and worked past some preconceptions that I had. In the end, none of my concerns have been addressed to my satisfation, but I have felt validated and heard, which is more than half the battle, especially when I was engaging in criticism and had a lot of frustration. I give these women a lot of credit for putting up with me.

Again though, the opportunity has been good, and I hope that I conveyed that to them.

On the up side, I have been a bit behind on one of my classes, a communications class that is an independent study. I enjoy the text but the professor and I don't have much reason to talk often. However, she sent me this email last night that really made my day:

I stayed late to read your work. It's now 1:30 a.m., and I am so delighted
I did stay. You are doing a wonderful job. You have a clear mind, a fine
writing voice, and your reflections on the material are mostly outstanding.

Keep up your outstanding work. By the way, I find your sharing in this
course very open. It's hard to imagine that you are not an open person.
Your family arrangements are intriguing, and I am delighted to learn more
about you as you learn more about the course.

What a great feeling to bolster me today as I tackled that difficult conversation. It gave me the confidence that I'm on the right track, and that if I stay open and transparent, and keep my desire to learn, that I can overcome many obstacles.

No comments: