From The Storyteller
Hello All: A preschool director taught me one of my greatest life skills. I share it with you. Enjoy. Doug
“Today I discovered that dinosaurs are not extinct.” Me to Elaine after our visiting grandchildren (ages 14, 11 & 11) had left. I realized this when I was answering their question about my job in the Air Force (50 years ago). I was talking about computer “punch cards” when the teacher in Elaine recognized the look on their faces and said, “They have no idea of what you're talking about”.
At that moment I realized I was on the verge of becoming a human dinosaur (i.e. That boring person who constantly shares stories filled with ancient useless information.) Not wanting to take that next step in dinosaur development, I naturally began rethinking how I might better communicate stories from my life that are relevant to the present.
Observation: When I want to communicate something, it’s very important to know that what I have to say adds to the conversation, and serves a purpose. This, of course, requires listening before speaking.
Which naturally brings me to the “hip and lip” technique I learned from a preschool director. She explained that, if a child has one hand on their hip and a finger on their lip, they’re not talking and not touching anyone else. I tried it out and it works. By putting a finger on my lips physically, I automatically shift into listening mode, and that is when I can discover what, if anything, I can add to the conversation.
The finger to the lips has an additional benefit of preventing me from saying things that are better left unsaid. Thus, with a finger on my lips, a nod of my head, and a simple verbal “hummm” my interactions with others seems to go better.
While I’m finding dinosaur prevention requires real effort, when it comes to grandkids, it’s worth it.
Moral: Staying relevant is never easy.