I would say the last few weeks has caused me to reflect deeply. Like so many of you, I am outraged at the viciousness and abusiveness which exists within our culture. I don’t understand how power and control swell to the point life would be needlessly taken. There is a pervasiveness of disrespect at the highest level I’ve ever seen. I’m guessing it hasn’t been this severe since the 1960s or maybe even the 1860s. “Torn in Half “ doesn’t adequately describe what we’re all experiencing right now.
My thoughts today are not turned entirely towards our current events though. However, it is interwoven in our current events. I’ve had a long-standing frustration or “pet peeve” – I’d like to share. It goes something like this. Because we have access to immediate communication via email, instant messaging, and text messaging; relationships are more subject to breakdown due to electronic media and impersonal communication.
Don’t get me wrong, I think being able to text somebody a location or to confirm the meeting time is super helpful. It’s great to text me a reminder, an address, or a phone number. I struggle when a question can quickly turn into a conversation. When this happens, I pick up the phone and call the person, so we can talk. I want to avoid ending up in a misunderstanding. I’ve done this way too many times and ended up hurting someone because I was reacting to and misunderstood their point. I need to do better with my listening and communication skills.
Because it’s easy, I have watched it become more and more part of our culture. I’ve often said to my family and my business colleagues, if you want to have a conversation with me, pick up the phone. Emails and text messages are unsatisfactory and there is way too great a chance to be misunderstood or misconstrued. There is often more to the story and I can’t understand the context, voice inflections, tempo, or emphasis all in writhing. But yet I see it over and over again. With communication, the breakdown comes to hurt feelings and ruptured relationships. I have done it to people and it’s been done to me. I have to be better.
I don’t want to oversimplify what’s going on in our world right now. I believe many complex problems are solved by extending basic respect and care for each other. To me, a place I can start is to respectfully and courageously choose to talk. I can’t fall into the trap of using emails and text messages or a social media platform to talk specifically to people. I have to find the courage and talk to them- not at them. I want to take the extra time it takes to invest in people. I hope they feel respected, loved, and safe. My relationship with my wife and our kids can’t exist when the primary mode of communication is impersonal electronic media.
People take time and I’ve always felt it’s my responsibility to practice my language, to improve my understanding so I find the vocabulary I need to talk with people. I may have a personality more inclined to speak than type my thoughts but doesn’t make it right to depend on the electronic media. If I did, the message I would send unfortunately could be misconstrued. Those are messages I do not want to send. Please have the courage to talk with me. I value my trusted relationships so much. I have to be better.
Finally, how does this relate to our business and the people we serve? From my perspective, it has everything to do with it. People have choices in who they want to trust and work with. Families have lots of choices when it comes to deciding what companies they would like to represent them.
Options for Senior Living is a team of people who are not only skilled at helping families navigate the complex world of Senior Living, but we are people who greatly value people. We have worked hard at learning to listen to our referral sources, our senior living partners, and the families we serve. I never want us to lose our way, especially now when it’s more difficult to make those personal connections due to limited personal contact related to the coronavirus presence. We must take the time to hear people’s fears and anxieties and enter their journey with them. There is so much anxiety and unknown in the world right now. I choose to make myself available, take the time to be there for people, and give myself to them. I hope you will too.
It’s a simple thing we can control in a world that might appear, often, to be out of control. The benefit is the people in our spheres of influence would know they are respected and they matter to us. I have to be better. Real unity is not conforming to a uniform belief. Real unity is uniformly believing your relationships are most important. Relationships are more important than uniformity of thought. In the words of Steven Covey, “Seek first to understand, then to be understood.”
I have to be better.
Scott M. Fischer BSN
Options for Senior Living