Tips and ideas for living an authentic life

I was at a small water park the other day with a few people including my granddaughter (6 years old). We forgot something so I dropped everyone off and then went back home to pick up the forgotten item.

When I returned to the water park, I found my granddaughter sitting near some kids but not involved with them. It took me about a half hour to run home and return, and since she was still sitting on the sidelines, I knew she was having a little challenge getting involved in her adventure at the park.

Adventures tend to have people finding connection, experiencing something fresh and feeling free to explore and engage – at least that’s usually been my experience. So, I assumed that she might not be feeling connected, fresh and free – something that kids are all about – and something that most everyone who likes adventures is all about.

I immediately felt inclined to do something to help get her started, so I took off my shoes and started walking into the shallow wading pool where many of the kids were playing. I didn’t say anything to her but I walked in about twenty feet from where she was sitting so she could easily see me. I didn’t have a plan but I thought I would start there with a little splashing and energy and see what her response was.

My granddaughter immediately got up and joined me and very quickly we were playing a game in the water together and the adventure was underway. After playing for a short time, she was good to go and got involved in a variety of different things.

I’m sure many people have experienced that kind of thing with young children, i.e. start doing something to help them get engaged. I also think that something very key is illustrated about communication in that example. It is about the relationship between speaker and listener, which in this case initially only involved actions and no words.

Basically, I communicated with her in a way where we both knew how to move forward. In other words, my communication (walking into the water) got a response from her and started an adventure for both of us.

You can read the quote below to get a little more insight into what I mean about knowing how to move forward, which I feel is a key to useful communication. This quote is from a book I like to quote – Finite and Infinite Games by James Carse.

Infinite speakers must wait to see what is done with their language by the listeners before they can know what they have said. Infinite speech does not expect the hearer to see what is already known to the speaker, but to share a vision the speaker could not have had without the response of the listener. Speaker and listener understand each other not because they have the same knowledge about something, and not because they have established a like-ness of mind, but because they know “how to go on” with each other.

If my granddaughter’s response had been different then I would have looked for different language (or action) to help us both “go on.” Our understanding was not about a concept of something but rather about what we could creatively do next.

Take a moment to recall a communication you had recently with someone and consider what you really said by seeing what the listener did with what you said. Then, ask yourself whether your intention was simply to tell someone else what you held to be true, or to create a vision together that allowed you both to “go on.”

Effective communication is a great way to open up to connection, find something new and fresh and experience freedom. Discovering how to go on is very typical of how adventurers communicate as a matter of course. That’s because finding a vision for how to go on with others (and Nature) is not only the key to an adventure with a six year old at a water park, but also to an adventure in business development, travel, relationship, . . . and everything else.

Please take a moment to add a comment below so I know what I have just said. Your comments will help me create and share a vision with you that I can not have until I hear your response. Thanks.

Comments on: "Communicating with a six year old at a water park" (2)

  1. Keep writing, Ted! I always enjoy your fresh perspective. The “going on” makes me think that I am not just trying to get the other person to experience and respond to my reality, but perhaps we are actually creating a 3rd reality (neither mine nor theirs) together. What I often want is for them to see ‘my’ reality, and I get frustrated when they respond to me without actually listening to what I said, so it is helpful to see that the important thing is the ‘going on’ together rather than seeing the situation in any particular way.

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