July 20, 2009

A lesson in communication

Why didn't you tell me I was signed up for Day Care?

Uhhh... (Oh, shit. I didn't tell her that, explicitly. I told her she was going to day camp. I told her I'd pick her up at 5 PM. But camp ends at 3:30 PM, and there was extended care for which I'd signed her up. And I hadn't told her.)

I'm sorry. I should have told you that. You were probably very confused.

Yes. I waited a long time for you to come pick me up. Even though they told me I was on the list. I thought they must be wrong because you didn't tell me I had day care.

Man. If she were an adult, I'd probably be thinking about the many things I did that *hinted* that she had day care. The reasons she should have figured it out because, you know, I have a job during work hours, and she was on the list, and I said I'd pick her up at 5 PM, and, I'm sure I'd come up with more.

But she's a child. And my first response was to accept my errors, apologize for anything and everything I could explain, and to empathize.

I would like to have this response to adults as well. I think it would greatly increase my quality of life.

Interestingly enough, this response is exactly what I should be trying to do in all areas of my life according to the content of the cheesiest book title ever (Nonviolent Communication? Yeah, there's cheesy poetry in it, too. I read it in Alaska, and at times, I couldn't help but think the author was deliberately trying to incite a force-yourself-to-learn-from-your-ridiculousness response from the types of people who need this book (like me)).

Anyways. Today was instructive. I'd like to be able to listen through people's questioning of my performance and be able to hear the confusion, hurt, and sadness that was so obvious in my niece's voice today. Hearing it made me respond in such a positive manner. Clearly, I need to *listen*.


gudnuff said...

This VERY SAME THING happened with my daughter a while ago. And I was totally apologetic and felt foolish and embarrassed for not having made her schedule clear to her, seeing as how she had zero say in how and where the hours of her day were spent. But I also felt like, c'mon! You KNOW I work! I mean, duh!

Biting Tongue said...

Gudnuff: I feel you. I think, since she was just visiting, I felt no justification towards asking her to *know* that I worked. In her defense, until this visit, she didn't know how that gig worked for me.

So, it was a learning experience for both of us...