Let the words of my mouth…be acceptable in thy sight,
O Lord, my strength, and my redeemer.
I saw a quote the other day, which triggered recent thoughts I’ve had concerning pleasant communication.
I’m convinced good communication is an art form. Some folks have more innate giftedness with words than others, but every one of us can improve the craft of effective, grace-filled communication.
I’m a verbal person by nature. My mom has told me more than once about how as a wee tyke, I would string every word in my limited vocabulary together, creating unintelligible sentences, complete with a variety of inflections. My first-grade teacher wrote on my report card: “Susan is bright. She scored high on her reading tests. Susan talks too much.”
Indeed, every strength has its pollution!
Not only do I tend to “talk too much,” just like my first-grade teacher reported. I’m also inclined to speak too quickly. Let me assure you, words have caused me trouble on more than one occasion!
Many mornings, my prayer echoes this one found in Psalms 141:3:
Set a guard, O Lord, over my mouth;
Keep watch over the door of my lips.
Because verbalization can be a challenging area, I’ve given this matter a lot of thought and have identified three communication possibilities.
- First, I can REACT – Reaction generally is a rapid verbal response when I disagree or feel angry.
- Though not generally my first choice, sometimes I REPRESS – Repression causes me to stuff my verbal response. While I may keep my mouth shut, my body language generally speaks volumes.
- With prayer and practice, I’m learning the value of RESPONDING – I allow myself time to think before I speak. I consider what words are appropriate to say at the time and what words are better left unsaid.
Here’s what I’ve found happens with each communication possibility:
Reactions often lead to regret and ruination of relationships.
Repression often leads to resentment or even revulsion.
Responding often leads to resolution and restoration.
When Ms. Green suggests being, “direct without being rude and…assertive without being disagreeable,” I believe she’s referring to a person who’s learned the communication skill of responding.
I like acronyms, and probably my favorite is one that helps me hone the communication art of response: THINK.
Before I speak, THINK:
T – Are the words I’m about to speak TRUE?
H – Will they be HELPFUL?
I – Are the words INSPIRATIONAL?
N – Are they NECESSARY?
K – Are the words KIND?
Because I’m prone to talking too much and rarely am at a loss for something to say, I’ve found the “N” reminder to be especially helpful.
I hope these words I’ve written today have met the “H” and “I” criteria.
My prayer is that you will give and receive many “T” and “K” words this day!
(Sydney, center, our firstborn grandchild; Emmi, left, our third granddaughter; and Reeve, right, our youngest grandchild and second grandson.)
Others were silly!!