Posts Tagged ‘ communication ’

How To Talk Like A Man

Thursday, February 13th, 2014

3 years, 2 months.


Dear Jack,

I’m starting to really appreciate infographics. They provide an organized visual for interesting research; like this one, below, on sending text messages:

  • 69% of all respondents said they “would be lost” without the ability to text
  • Men text more than women (an average of 17 regular contacts)
    • Men send shorter messages
    • they generally see texting as a functional form of communications
  • Women have an average of 13 regular text contacts. Men are 3x more likely to text work colleagues than women:
    • Women tend to send longer messages
    • more likely to say “I love you” via text (54%)
    • they often use texting to deepen relationships

That’s interesting, yet I’m not at all surprised to see those findings.

Men and women not only think much differently, but they speak much differently to match it. You and I are males, meaning we are wired to speak in a different language than females.

It’s not a bad thing, though it often is a frustrating thing. But it’s also what makes the dynamics between males and females work.

Otherwise, we would function more like robots.

So instead of writing off the other gender because I’m not the best at speaking their language… I’m learning to speak their language.

I’m making myself the victor, not the victim.

Being married to Mommy for 5 and a half years has helped me a lot, via immersion, to learn how to say what I am wanting to say, in a way that others will hear it the way I want to say it.

Similarly, I have learned how to better understand what Mommy actually means versus what it naturally sounded like she was saying- because I was hearing hear with “man” ears.

I will always be very aware in helping you to speak. And I don’t just mean basic sentence structure and vocabulary, as I am right now with you only being 3 years old.

Basically, I mean for the rest of our shared lives- I will be here to help you know how to talk… like a man.

But more importantly, like a man who knows how to speak and listen in a way that is most efficiently understood by the listener; regardless of their gender.





Image By Scratch Wireless



Scratch Wireless Are You Textually Active? Infographic

Infographic by Image By Scratch Wireless

What career will your child have when he grows up? Find out.

What You Need to Know About Birth Order
What You Need to Know About Birth Order
What You Need to Know About Birth Order

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Groundbreaking Theory: Kids Have Less Emotional Intelligence Than Adults

Thursday, November 29th, 2012

2 years.

Dear Jack,

You can’t always change how you feel, but you can choose to decide how you’ll react to how you feel.

In other words, emotions are automatic; behavior is controllable.

That’s the lesson I was forced to teach you today.

I’m not gonna lie. This morning was the most difficult morning I’ve ever had with you.

It was rough! For both of us. Simply exhausting.

After getting you through the front door, I picked up on the fact you weren’t able to let it go that “YouTube time” was over and you had to go to school.

As I attempted to buckle you in your car seat, you screamed at me while bowing out your back, making it impossible for me to strap you in without possibly bruising you, as you violently resisted me.

So I took away your graham crackers and toy train.

That got your attention. I was able to buckle you in your seat as your focus was no longer about fighting me and now you were just simply angry at me for taking away your pre-breakfast snack and morning ride entertainment.

I started up the car and turned around to explain to you the deal, as you began your hostile emotional meltdown:

“Jack, listen. I’m going to give you your crackers and your toy; all you have to do is just one thing: Calm down. That means if you simply stop crying for a few seconds and stop screaming, you’ll get what you want.”

Your response, in a faux German accent: “MIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIINE!!!”

For the following 18 minutes, as I drove towards the interstate, it was a back and forth battle between the two of us: I would explain that all you had to do was calm down for a few seconds, you would retaliate with the equivalent of the Tasmanian Devil cursing.

I held a graham cracker in my hand just waiting for a 2 second pause in your crying. Finally, it happened. I slipped you one cracker.

Then you realized how it worked. If you calmed down, you got the very thing you were demanding.

By the second half of our drive to daycare, you had earned back all your crackers, as well as, your toy train.

Right now, at the age of 2, your emotional intelligence isn’t that high. Being able to manage your emotions is not easy for you.

So that means it’s my job to help you with that.

Your meltdowns seem to be triggered mainly when you are told no. Therefore, my main goal is to help you learn not to cry and get upset when I can’t, or won’t, give you what you want.

On the drive home tonight, I purposely avoided turning down the cul-de-sac with all the inflatable Snoopy Christmas yard decorations that you love to see. Instead, I wanted to test how you’d react.

Son, you did well. You accepted my rejection.

That means next time, you’ll definitely get to see Snoopy.

The more you can handle being told no, the more I will tell you yes.

I know it’s a struggle for you right now, but let me tell you, it’s even a challenge for me as an adult to be told no. I promise I know how you feel.





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Yes, I’m Teaching My Son the Power of “No”

Tuesday, February 21st, 2012

15 months.

My son Jack understands a direct, calm-assertive “no” from me, which is much different from an unsure, half-panicked “n-n-n-n-n-no, no, no, no!

The difference is best illustrated by the way a period puts a solid end to a sentence, but if you add two more periods, making ellipsis points, the end to the sentence is suspended.

When I teach my son not to do something, I want the message to be conveyed with a period, not the equivalent of dot-dot-dot.

This past weekend my parents, my sister, her husband and their daughter came up for a visit and to watch Jack.

My wife and I had won a free stay at the Hutton Hotel in downtown Nashville. When we returned, my sister updated me how things went with Jack:

“He taught me everything in the house that he can’t touch. That includes the cords behind the TV, the blinds, and the flusher handle on the toilet.”

Jack even warned my mom with a “no” when she sat too close to the sliding glass door which I have taught him not to bang his toys against.

Now while I may be making myself out to be a Negative Ned with all this “no” training on my son, it’s important to note that I actually balance it with the power of “yes.”

When Jack makes proper decisions regarding the boundaries I set for him, he gets a “yes” from me along with a nodding head of approval.

He craves to know what the boundaries are. He loves learning what the “yes’s ” and “no’s” are in our house. And obviously, he also enjoys sharing what he has learned with others who visit.

Jack has taken on the responsibility of proclaiming boundaries to others. I like that. It makes me feeling that I’m doing something right.

Admittedly, I can’t help but think about what the future version of this looks like. As Jack gets older, how will his concept of “yes” and “no” guide him in his decision making abilities?

Will Jack continue to help others know the boundaries when it comes to all the good and bad decisions to be made?

I say “yes.”

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Effectively Communicating in Marriage: The Jack Tripper Version

Wednesday, August 24th, 2011

Nine months.

For certain, I am overly aware of all the things I’m not good at; a few of which include math and anything involving numbers, all home repairs, anything to do with cars, anything requiring athletic talent, navigating without getting completely lost, knowing when to say “my wife and I” versus “my wife and me,” and pretending to care about the newest “shocking” thing that Lady Gaga did, said, or wore.

But I do think one of my strengths is communicating and empathizing with other people; or at least it’s something I’ve gotten a lot better at in recent years. I keep in mind that when it comes to relating to others, it’s not a matter of “do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”

Instead, the rule is “do unto others as they would want you to do to them.” Because I can’t assume the other person is inspired by the same things I am. Instead, I have to put myself in their shoes.

It’s a matter of knowing what motivates and discourages other people.  It’s a matter of reminding myself that listening is typically more effective than speaking. People often need to be and feel understood before they will want to receive advice or instruction.

Despite me being hard-wired to always want to “fix the problem,” I have definitely improved my ability to sincerely listen to my wife when she airs out what is going through her head, without trying to save the day by providing a reasonable and logical solution; or even asking “what can I do to help?”  But I still have to remind myself that 99.987% of the time, listening itself is the best way to fix the problem.

But there are certain times where there actually is a legitimate issue that needs to be handled and my wife actually does need my help to fix it. She is keen and conspicuously clued in enough to know how to present the problem to me in a way that doesn’t come across as “nagging.” Instead, she knows that the best way to effectively communicate with me, in that instance, is to literally ask for my help. Because I always want to help her.  It makes me feel good as her husband.

We are not manipulating each other but instead are simply acutely aware of the way we need to be communicated with. And this concept doesn’t just apply to my marriage; it works for all relationships in my life: friends, family, coworkers, and even people I don’t even know that well.

Do I need to issue an obligatory disclaimer admitting that my wife and I have only been married for three years and therefore I have not earned the right to give out marriage advice? Am I only triggering some readers to respond with, “Well you just wait until you’ve been married longer…”?

I admit; I have far to go and much to learn. If I am an expert of any kind, it’s in not being an expert.

So I am just a normal guy having to figure out these things as I go, especially when it comes to marriage and fatherhood. Constantly I am realizing that if I only knew yesterday what I just learned today, things would be a lot less complicated and frustrating.

As a husband and father, I have a tendency to be as clumsy and misunderstood as Jack Tripper from Three’s Company. Similarly, I also unintentionally make a habit of stumbling my way out of the current crisis within 30 minutes, right before “Come and knock on my door…” starts playing again for the closing credits. Maybe my life is just one big sitcom!

(Cue the laugh tracks.)

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Good Conversations with Jack through Ongoing Bit Routines

Thursday, July 7th, 2011

Seven months.

Chicco car seat for babies

How does a thirty year-old man carry on a conversation with his seven month-old son?  “So Jack, tell me about your day.  What did you have for lunch, son?”  Or I could say traditional fatherly phrases that make me think of TV sitcom dads from the 1960’s, like, “How’s my little man? Give your Pop a kiss on the cheek.”

Sorry, that’s just not my style.  Without realizing it, since Jack was a newborn, I have been creating bit routines with Jack to communicate with him.  I wasn’t aware of these ongoing conversations based on fictional characters I had made up until weeks after continuing to do them.

Here are a few examples:

“Are you Baby Sanchez?” This phrase is spoken in the same tone as the Boost Mobile’s “Is That the Talking Dog?” commercial.  The assumed plot line here is that Jack is being mistaken for a distant Mexican cousin.  Yesterday when I called my wife on my lunch break she suggested that I “do the Baby Sanchez” thing so check could hear it.  Sure enough, he smiled right away and laughed. Maybe he really is Baby Sanchez.

“Hello son-n-n-n-n-n-n-n… You are my son-n-n-n-n-n…” In this bit, I pretend to be a wise, old, bearded man sitting at the top of mountain.  Assuming Jack journeyed quite a ways to reach me, I get right to the point and announce to him that I am his father.  It’s similar to the concept behind Darth Vader’s “Luke, I am your father.”  But the voice I use is similar to Splinter in the original 1990 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Movie.  When I say the catch phrase, I get right in Jack’s face and press my lips on his cheek, in an effort to gain some sort of response.  Usually, all I get is, “Errrghhmmrrr…”

“…For babies.  Babies like (name relevant conversation topic) too, ya know…” This one comes into play the most when I come home from work and hold Jack while my wife prepares dinner.  If she says, “We’re almost out of Ricotta cheese.” Then I reply, evidently speaking from the perspective of Jack, “Ricotta cheese for babies.  Babies like Ricotta cheese too, ya know.” This helps me empathize with my son’s feelings and perspective on life.

“Ya wanna give ya Daddy-Waddy a kissy-wissy on da wippy-wippy-wippies?” This translates into English as “Do you want to give your Daddy a kiss on the lips?”  I pucker up my lips as big as I can and start zooming in towards his face, until I ultimately slightly turn away and kiss him on the cheek instead.  I love annoying my son in the name of entertainment.

It’s my norm to accidentally create these goofy characters for Jack and then reuse them on a daily basis.  As Jack learns to actually communicate back to me with legitimate words, he can start getting to know the real me.  Until then, I’m about as real as Roger Rabbit.

Baby Herman

Unnecessary Bonus:

The picture of Jack at the top of this post made me think of the album cover for The New Radicals’ only album, Maybe You’ve Been Brainwashed Too.  They were that one hit wonder band that did the 1999 song, “You Get What You Give.”  Some of the song’s most memorable lyrics were at the closing:

“Fashion shoots with Beck and Hanson, Courtney Love and Marilyn Manson. You’re all fakes, run to your mansions…”

You Get What You Give

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