Speak well, listen even better, pastor urges families
A couple, a parent and child, or a brother and sister might have the same quarrels daily, and even when they think a solution has come, the problem arises yet again.
So what do they do?
Communicate better, says pastor of the Mile Gully Circuit of Seventh-day Adventist (SDA) Churches and trained counselling psychologist, Joel Shillingford.
With growing concerns about how people relate to each other in and outside of a family, Shillingford said that unless the problem is looked at deeply, nothing will change.
“If you have communication, conflict resolution and intimacy going well in your life, then you will have a good relationship. Communication is key to any relationship. How we communicate with each other is key to the success we will have in any relationship, and this goes beyond husband and wife to even how we communicate in the Church: pastor to elders, elders to deacons, and so on,” he said.
Speaking at the Home and Family Emphasis Programme at the Asia SDA Church recently, Pastor Shillingford said that the success of any relationship is predicated on how well people relate to each other.
“The Lord wants us to communicate better. It is not distance that keeps people apart, but lack of communication. I have a woman in my district, and when she speaks of her children, you would think they lived close by, but they are close because they talk every day. In contrast, you have those who live together, but are worlds apart, and this goes on in many households,” he said.
He said it is crucial for family members to learn how each communicates as that is the only true way through which understanding might be had.
“Fathers, invest some time into doing what your children like to do. It is often at those times that your children are comfortable enough to really say certain things to you,” he said.
He said the breakdown in communication is often as a result of a lack of listening skills.
“We love to talk a lot, and that’s all we do. When a person listens very well, the talker feels appreciated. But what is most important is hearing what isn’t being said. People talk on two levels ... The most important things are not said verbally,” he said
He added, “People need to pay attention to what is being said and how it is being said. We must learn to agree to disagree and welcome disagreement and suggestions. There’s is a difference between agreeing with someone and understanding them. When I welcome disagreement, you are naturally disarmed, and it allows for proper dialogue. People don’t have to agree with you all the time, and if that happens, something is wrong. We need to communicate intelligently by speaking well and listening better.”
He stated that people should employ the ‘speaker/listener’ technique, where each party is given an opportunity to speak, while the other listens, paraphrases what is heard for clarification, and aims to reach for a solution rather than a quarrel.