Mrs Bowers' Thought for the TermPosted on: 06/11/2020
Communication and Connection
On Friday in half term I met up for a coffee, chat and cake with my best friend. She'd been away and was keen to catch up. It was a grey mizzling afternoon and we ended up in the cafe with our two soggy dogs.
'So what have you been up to this week?' she asked.
'Oh nothing much,' I shrugged.
The conversation drifted in a desultory manner and we eventually went our separate ways. As I walked home, still in the rain, I thought about our conversation.
I could have told her about the lovely pub I'd been to with my husband with the wood-stove burning and the delicious roast dinner. I could have recommended Brene Brown's new 'Dare to Lead' podcast and what I'd learned from it. I could have told her about the online poetry workshop I'd done and, if I was really brave, told her what I wrote.
'Oh nothing much.'
If I'd been honest, I could have told her how tired I'd been from last term and how much I'd needed to do nothing much for a week. I could have shared my anxieties about the turbulence in our world at the moment and she would probably have connected to that too.
'Oh nothing much.'
I reflected that I hadn't given her any opportunity to make a proper connection with me. I hadn't shared the things that had made me happy or the things which were on my mind and our conversation was the worse for it.
How many times have you got home from school or work and done the same?
'How was your day?' someone asks.
'Boring' you say, or 'busy' or 'fine' or perhaps you opt for the teenage prerogative and shrug the ultimate can't-be-bothered-with-this- conversation reply.
Some people don't let us get away with those evasive answers. 'Fine' is never enough for them. They look at you, and ask 'No, really, how are you?' and then they listen.
As we go into our second lockdown, the days get darker and winter draws in, we will need to communicate and connect with our friends, families, teachers and colleagues more than ever. True communication and connection goes both ways. We need to be ready to tell our stories: the happy ones and the sad ones, and the scary ones and the ordinary day-to-day ones. We need to ask 'How are you?' and be ready to listen to the answer.