People Will Understand, or They May Not

Gel pen on mixed media paper- Words: William Butler Yates

How we think and how we speak may not always be the same. I have a dear friend who is planning to leave her corporate job to stay home and raise her children. She doesn’t want someone else to spend their days doing what she wants to do with her kids. When she talks about this change with her colleagues they don’t understand and give her grief about such a choice. She has learned that she thinks and values differently than her coworkers. They are not the audience for her thoughts and passions.

Communication requires that we use words and ideas our audience understand. Just because we know doesn’t mean they do. Just because we think one way does not mean they think that way as well. So to best help them understand we need to use words and concepts to open their thought processes to a new way of seeing things. It means presenting our thoughts and concepts in a way that they can understand, which may mean using their words to help them relate to our ideas. Once they understand then the real conversation and growth can occur on both sides.

Let us not forget that there was a time when we did not get things, when new ideas or foreign ways seemed strange and unintelligible. Someone took the time to help us move forward just as we must do the same for someone else in our current realm of influence. Paying to forward so that knowledge, wisdom and experience can expand our world and the lives of those around us.

I am very proud of my friend for wanting to change her life and the life of her family. She and her husband have made choices such that they have the power to follow their dream of family. It may not be something everyone understands, and yet I know that as time moves forward people will see and comprehend the what, the why and the how of it all. And if they do not understand, that’s okay too.

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