Lots of times, we’re trying to get a point across to someone we love and instead, we send a message that we don’t respect them, aren’t listening to them, or don’t trust them. Why? Because we’re often focused on our side of the argument or on what the other person did wrong. What would happen if our communication started out of wanting to find a loving solution? What if, instead of being right, we focused on enhancing the relationship?
What’s Your Intention?
Pause for a moment. From a state of calmness, ask yourself: “What do I intend to accomplish in terms of the quality of the relationship?”
Just before they hoisted the gurneyinto the helicopterthey waved us over—my young son and me—to say goodbye.One arm cradling my shaken son’s shoulders,I picked up her hand,warm and weighty,spread her fingers into a fan, andkissed the middle of it.We first did thisafter reading The Kissing Handon her first morning of kindergarten.“If you miss me,” I had said to her then,“put your hand to your cheek and you’ll knowI love you.”She had raised my hand to her face andkissed me back.I leaned forward now,And, becauseshe couldn’t do so herself,I placed her just-kissed hand on her cheek.“We’ll see you soon,” I stage-whispered,willing the uncertainty—for her sake, for his sake, for my sake—into submission.Nurses secured safety belts, like parents strapping an infant into a car seat.They checked IV lines, and shoved the stretcher—laden with my hopes, my dreams, my fears—onto the helicopter.My son and I squeezed each other’s hands,anchoring each other,and staggered,two shell-shocked soldiers emerging from combat,toward the parking lot,watching her fly above us,away from us,until she was a speck in the sky.And then my man-son lifted my lifeless hand,spread it into a fan with his small fingers, and kissed it twice.