This week’s calligraphy challenge was to use both English and another language in the same piece. Show both the non-english language and the translation. I struggled with this one as I have done many other languages – German, French, Hawaiian, Spanish, and a little Japanese. I decided to do something a little closer to home, so I chose to write in redneck. This is a common phrase around here and I thought people would get a kick out of actually reading what seems like gibberish until you see the translation.
Living in the South means you have to be able to decipher many different versions of the same language. Some people have a very flat accent, while others simply add a syllable to everything no matter how many syllables it had originally. Sometimes you have to work a little harder to understand what they are trying to communicate, which mens listening while trying to look intelligent. Be careful not to agree to anything until you truly understand what it is the other person is trying to say.
I think it is a good lesson and reminder that we may understand our message, but does the receiver get it? Does the other person truly comprehend what is being said, or are they just nodding to avoid seeming stupid? How do you truly know if they understand? If they ask intelligent questions or paraphrase your words then you KNOW they understand. The challenge comes when we keep talking and never give them time to interact with us or the message. They are forced to suffer in silence and we never know if they get it; in our arrogance we simply assume. Communication is a dialogue not a monologue.
Next time you have to delver a message work hard to use words the other person understands, then stop talking. Give them time to process and comprehend, and then you check for understanding. That’s the only way you will REALLY know if they have eaten yet, or if they want to.