Resilient people are lifelong learners in some specific, measurable ways. It turns out that as we continue to work hard to improve our communication and problem-solving skills, we are creating a deep reservoir of resiliency. Who knew? Recently, I realized that I needed to redouble my own efforts at the communication skill of listening.
I never had a huge ego or even a modicum of confidence about my own parenting skills so I’ve been open to learning from my adult children (who are now parents) about child rearing. I believe that part of my responsibility as a grandparent is to respect my children’s parenting preferences. Some of my friends find this offensive and this conflict has resulted in more than a few spirited conversations. They have reported to me that they managed to raise their own children, why should they need to bow to the whims of their adult children? My response was to counter argue that the parental units of these precious grandchildren will rightfully develop a deep and abiding suspicion that we may not be a safe person to babysit if we don’t respect their wishes. In reply my friend said - “Exactly!!”
I was missing her point. I was a poor listener the first 20 times we had this conversation. I was wrong in believing the issue was that my friend was confused, ill-informed, and missing key information about grandparenting etiquette. Eventually I heard her - she doesn’t want unsupervised visitations! She is perfectly ok with her children’s skepticism. She does NOT want to be left alone with her little ninja grandchildren.
Not only do resilient people continue to work on their relationship skills, they also figure out that we humans are all different AND THAT’S OK. I’ve stopped suggesting to my friend that she perhaps consider the latest research on how to position a baby when they are asleep. She doesn’t need the information. I was probably annoying her with my grandmother chit chat.
Resilient people, by virtue of their commitment to a particular set of skill work related to communication and conflict resolution end up with skills that are helpful and can be adapted to a wide variety of situations. Hooray for learning!
Are there any repetitive frustrating conversations that you are having that might be eliminated by more careful listening on your part?