Archive for ‘Listening’

April 13, 2017

Gifts money can’t buy

by Rod Smith

Unhindered attention: you have my ears, my eyes, my brain and my heart for this time, this hour, this meal, or this weekend.

Unilateral forgiveness: you have a fresh, completely new start with me even though we have a rich history. This means that, as much as it is possible, at least from my side, our pasts will not disrupt the present or impede the future.

Absolute freedom: you have God-given freedom that mine to honor, and so I will allow nothing in my behavior or attitudes to get in the way of your full enjoyment of the freedom that is divinely yours.

Room to discover: limited only by how much courage you have within you, you have the freedom to explore your talents, develop your skills, and pursue your dreams, and I will applaud you as you do so at every turn.

A safe zone: you may rest with me, be off duty with me, decompress with me. You may succeed. You may fail. You may talk about your worries or be as carefree as you need. I want to be a safe person for you and to learn how to be when I am not.

April 12, 2017

It’s not “outside” – it’s “inside”….

by Rod Smith

There is a woman I know who dates very widely. She seems to be in constant search of a man. Her online searches are almost always successful and result in a relationship that involves moving homes, changing her daughter’s school, and sometimes changing cities.

Three times, at least, I have heard “this is the one” and she has been fully invested in the new relationship. Her zeal is faultless. Her research is extensive. She is very aware of the impact that her relationships have on her young child and waits months before introducing a new man into her life.

The child is happy; she loves his mother. She is a trooper when it comes to moving and re-settling.

Four to five months into the relationship the woman’s control mechanisms kick in. She begins faultfinding and she begins to want to re-arrange the man into someone he is not. As each of the men has stood up to her, she reads resistance as rejection – and from there things plummet.

She knows she visits her unresolved family issues on the men who are close to her.

She is aware that in every case the men were honorable.

The outward search continues when solutions are only to be found is within.

April 6, 2017

Before I protest……

by Rod Smith
  • Do I know what I am doing as I protest and do I know why I am doing it?
  • Will I be a conduit of peace, kindness, honesty, humility, mercy, and justice?
  • Will I be demanding a level of justice that is incongruent with the measure I use with those who in my own immediate family and with my neighbors?
  • Am I aware that rallying for justice, if I myself, treat others with unfairness and disrespect, makes a mockery of my efforts and my efforts will be wasted?
  • Am I being authentic, knowing that I am not protesting to maintain ill-gained wealth or ill-gained privilege but rather seeking justice and peace for all, despite our many differences?
  • Am I willing to stay at home rather than take to the streets if I am angry, bitter, or wanting to settle a score or seek revenge?
  • Am I will be stay at home and avoid protesting if I want to join a protest to trivialize the efforts of others.
  • Am I willing to stay home if I seek to divide rather than to unite?
February 26, 2017

Pardon me; may I whisper something in your ear?

by Rod Smith

A conversation means we both speak. You speak, I listen; I speak, you listen. We take turns. We build on what each of us has said. We ask questions related to content already shared. It’s really quite simple.

Appearing to listen while you are really waiting to speak is not listening.

The split-second you decide you know what I am going to say or think you have heard it all before is when you stopped hearing.

When I am talking and your eye contact is with your phone you are not listening. And, no, this is not the new form of multitasking. Listening takes focus and respect.

When I tell you something, respond to what I have said. Following what I’ve said with your bigger, better story, related or unrelated, reduces conversations to competitions.

Unless you are genuinely affirming people we both know I’d suggest we leave all others out of our conversation.

Our routine one-liners and well-worn war stories serve as shields. If we are really going to talk we either have to get them out of the way early on in our dialogue or we have to agree to focus on content neither of us has shared with each other before.

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July 14, 2012

Indications of becoming healthier in an intimate relationship

by Rod Smith

1. You experience greater OBJECTIVITY and can “see” your most important relationships as if looking at them through someone else’s eyes.
2. Despite any pain, any trauma, any uncertainty, you can see some HUMOUR in what you are experiencing even if it is short lived.
3. You are progressively gathering a small community of friends who know everything (or almost everything) about you and their SUPPORT is becoming easier to trust.
4. You are seeing with greater and greater CLARITY what are and what are not your responsibilities within your most important relationships.
5.”No” comes easier and it is not accompanied by guilt. “Yes” is your response when you really want what you agree to. You begin to BELIEVE the words you say. Your words reflect you, your desires, and are not said from guilt or the impulse to keep the peace or make others happy.

June 19, 2012

Three requests

by Rod Smith

“You and Me” will be a little different today. You have three invitations:

1. Please send me the names of the 10 books you believe every English speaking child should read by the time he or she is 15. Please don’t refer me to website. I want your personal list of essential children’s and young adult literature. Kindly indicate “m” of “f” if necessary. Skip Potter, “Vampire” books, and anything with Chicken Soup in the title.

2. I received this yesterday from Kayise Maphalala, producer of Three Talk, SABC Television. If interested please contact Kayise at kayisem@urbanbrew.co.za:

“Three Talk is doing a show on forgiveness and one of the areas we would like to also look at is forgiveness in relationships. Would you be so kind as to recommend a couple who has gone through a difficult patch to come in and talk about the importance of forgiveness. This is for a show next to be aired on Tuesday, 26th June 2012.”

3. I have “pushed” Passionate Marriage (David Schnarch) and Failure of Nerve (Edwin Friedman) for years as the best books on (respectively) relationships and leadership. What books am a missing on these two topics? Please send me your suggestions. It is summer in the USA. I have vast amounts of time (I am on three months leave) for reading.

 

July 1, 2011

Achieving MUCH with YOUR life is a profound act of mothering

by Rod Smith

1. Enriched is the woman who does not lose herself to her marriage or motherhood. She has a strong spirit of independence while being a loving wife and mother.

2. Enriched is the woman who does not accommodate poor manners (being taken for granted or being victimized) from anyone (not husband, children, in-laws, siblings, or her parents).

3. Enriched is the woman who lives above manipulation, domination, and intimidation. Her relationships are pure and open; her boundaries are defined, secure, and strong.

4. Enriched is the woman who does not participate in unwanted sexual activity. She honors her body as her private temple and shares it, even in marriage, only by her own deliberate choice.

5. Enriched is the woman who has developed a strong, clear, identity. She regularly articulates who she is, what she wants, and what she will and will not do. She is unafraid of defining herself.

6. Enriched is the woman who knows that pursuing her dreams to be educated, to work, to accomplish much, to expect much from her life, are profound acts of partnership in marriage and profound acts of mothering. She knows that the woman who “takes up her life” does more for herself, her husband, and her children than the one who surrenders it.

June 2, 2011

Healthy teams

by Rod Smith

Teamwork is not easy

A highly functioning team, school, church, or organization:

1. Sticks with an essential, identified, agenda.
2. Knows why it was formed and why it continues to exist.
3. Knows what it wants to accomplish and can measure its progress.
4. Values individuals, values the “whole” without losing sight of either.
5. Regularly articulates group and individual roles, goals, and dreams.
6. Discourages rescuing (saving) behavior among team members.
7. Encourages necessary conflict.
8. Encourages internal dialogue and negotiation, yet sets limits on each.
9. Addresses gossip, rumor mongering, and other group destroyers and cancers.
10. Plays as hard as it works.
11. Acknowledges necessary hierarchy without being driven or defined by it.
12. Encourages “downward mobility” or authentic power gained through service.

May 15, 2011

Therapy (counseling, family therapy, individual therapy) works best when…..

by Rod Smith

Attraction is only enduringly poss

Take UP your life - it is an act of LOVE

1. It is self-initiated and no one is “sending” you to therapy.

2. You are motivated to see change in your life and understand that it could mean an increase in your discomfort and some disruption to your relationships.

3. You are willing to recognize your sacred cows even if you are initially unwilling to lead them to the slaughterhouse.

4. You read widely about ordinary people who have done extraordinary things with their lives.

5. You are willing to see the fruitlessness of blaming others (parents, boss, your ex, the economy, and politicians) for what you are facing.

6. You are willing to shift your focus off the behavior of others and be fully responsible for your own behavior.

7. You are willing to understand that others can only entangle (trap, manipulate, bother) you to the degree you allow.

8. You understand your therapist is a person just like you – but for his or her training. Elevating your therapist will prove to be unhelpful to you and it will obstruct the very process you wish to assist you.

9. You understand that all desired and healthy growth requires some loss, pain, and grief.

10. Your goal is to grow up and to fully live your own life – no matter what your age.

May 12, 2011

Workplace emotional climate – helping it improve

by Rod Smith

Attraction is only enduringly poss

I'd love to speak at you Leadership Event

The Emotional Climate of anywhere people work, play, serve, or worship will be enhanced when….

1. Room (space, freedom) is offered for the expression of creativity.
2. Use of good humor (good humor has no victims) is encouraged and enjoyed.
3. Individuals remain focused upon their unique, specific roles without bleeding, leaking into the roles of others by over or under functioning.
4. People refuse to initiate or ferry gossip, participate in unhelpful innuendo, or promote any form of interpersonal sabotage be it subtle or gross.
5. Problems, or perceived problems, are addressed first at the apparent source, then with those who are empowered to act to alleviate or solve the problem.
6. Self-definition at all levels is encouraged. In other words everyone is encouraged to Show up, Stand up, Speak up for him or herself.
7. Rocking the boat is welcomed (by the leaders) when the boat needs rocking.
8. Leadership and leadership styles are open to legitimate assessment and challenge.
9. Dialogue, negotiation is authentic. It is not offered so people can “feel” as if they have a say or to promote so-called “buy in.” Dialogue, negotiation are either legitimate (can influence an organization) or they are a manipulative sham.
10. The leaders are unafraid to reprimand, to fire, and to cleanse the group of toxic elements in the organization – despite the tenacity of toxic personnel to invade, diminish and destroy the functioning of others. This is most difficult in volunteer organizations such as churches, clubs, and not-for-profits but it is no less necessary.