Intent vs. Impact – Part 2

iStock_000019965393SmallThis week we continue to focus on Intent vs. Impact.  This concept is so important and can’t be stressed enough when it comes to good, effective communication… with our children, our family members, our friends, even strangers!

When our words are heard to mean something other than what we’ve intended that is a problem.  When we’ve hurt someone, whether we meant to or not, what matters is how we repair the situation. Last week we identified some steps that can be taken towards accepting responsibility for the impact of our words to make things right.

Now, let’s think about getting to the point where we think about impact first.  At what point does the “intent” conversation stop mattering?  After all, what does the intent of our actions really matter if our actions have an impact other than what was intended?

Please share your thoughts so we can continue the conversation.  Let us know how you’ve been able to communicate more effectively and avoid misunderstandings by focusing on the impact of your words.

“What one does is what counts. Not what one had the intention of doing.”
~ Pablo Picasso ~

For fun, check out our Pinterest board ~ intentionally put together for your pleasure!! :)

Happy Friday!

In Gratitude,

Intent vs. Impact – Part 1

iStock_000019965393SmallLast week I said that I would begin talking about the concept of “Intent vs. Impact” .  I believe this will prove to be a great guide in helping our children (and ourselves!)understand that sometimes what we say and intend are different than what is heard, and how the impact of our words can end up being hurtful, mean, or confusing when that isn’t the intent at all.

Have you ever had an unexpected impact on a person to whom you were communicating and had no understanding as to why?  It happens!  Even to those of us that consider ourselves to be excellent communicators!  Having said that, you can imagine how easily children and adolescences fall into this trap without ever being aware of it.  So what are some ways that we can get our kids to realize the importance of thinking before they act/speak.  How can we help them communicate effectively, in-turn assisting them in making better, kinder choices when it comes to their words?

I was recently at a talk at my kids’ school and a parent mentioned being upset that their child said “he was acting so gay… it was annoying” as he was referring to the behavior of a friend.  The parent didn’t know what to say about the sons choice of words so admittedly said nothing.

Lets break this down:
1.  Did the boy intend to say he thinks his friend is gay?
2.  Does he think the boy would be upset if he heard him use the word “gay” when referring to his behavior?
3.  What is gay behavior in the eyes of a Junior High School student?
4.  What if there was somebody within earshot who is struggling with their identity… how would it make that person feel?
5. How would it make the boy feel if one of his friends said that about him?

Clearly the above example is something that will likely happen in Junior High and beyond, but no matter the age of your child(ren), I’m sure you can plug-in your own scenario and end up with a similar set of issues.  So given that, what can be done if we realize that there is a mismatch between our intent and our impact on a colleague, friend, or someone at home?  Here are some questions we might ask ourselves:

1.  What just happened?
2.  How is the outcome different from what I intended/expected?
3.  Where can I take responsibility?
4.  How do I make this right?

In striving to make things right, you can take the following steps:

1.  Act quickly to address the situation… don’t let the “bad” linger
2.  Be honest about your intention.  Talk with the other person about what they heard and how it made them feel.
3.  How might you communication more effectively or differently in the future?
4.  Take responsibility for your words and actions.

My failures have been errors in judgment, not of intent.
~ Ulysses S. Grant ~

This is just the tip of the iceberg on this topic, so you can expect on-going dialogue for a few weeks.  Check back and see what others are saying and further, share your own scenarios and solutions with us.  We love hearing from you!

Until next time…

In gratitude,

The Pledge – Part 8: Love and Compassion

My World PledgeWow!  It’s hard to believe we’ve reached the last verse of the My World Friends Pledge!  When broken down line by line, you can easily see that the collective impact of small gestures and behaviors can be quite powerful.

Today we’re looking at “Living with Love and Compassion in our Hearts.”  I believe compassion to be one of the few things we can practice that will bring immediate and long-term happiness to our lives. Compassionate acts are generally considered those which take into account the suffering of others and attempt to alleviate that suffering as if it were one’s own. In this sense, the various forms of the Golden Rule are clearly based on the concept of compassion. As adults we can quickly give everyday examples of what compassion might look like, but the ideas and examples that inspire kids are often much simpler.

Here are some great examples you can use to assist your kids in identifying ways that they can naturally show love and compassion:

  • Sending your friend a get well card – Compassion
  • Helping a classmate clean-up a work area that they’re responsible for so that they still have time to participate in recess – Compassion
  • Sharing your ice cream with a friend because they dropped theirs on the ground – Compassion
  • Offering to walk an elderly neighbors dog – Compassion
  • Picking out a special treat for your sibling at the grocery store because you know it will make their day – Love
  • Creating a special, homemade banner or card to welcome a family member back into your home – Love
  • Praying for a friend or family member when they’re injured, sick or just simply feeling down – Love

“If you want others to be happy, practice compassion. If you want to be happy, practice compassion.”
~ Dalai Lama ~

I can’t wait to hear about all the ways that you and your kids have been living “The Pledge”.  I strongly believe that small steps in this direction can change our world!  If you are Living with Love and Compassion in your Heart please share with us how it’s impacted your life and the lives of others.

Next week I’ll begin talking about the concept of “intent versus impact” .  This will prove to be a great tool in guiding our kids to think before they act/speak and therefore, assist them in making better, kinder choices.

In gratitude,

The Pledge – Part 7: Be Trustworthy

My World PledgeAs we continue to navigate our way through the My World Friends Pledge, today we focus on being Trustworthy.

As parents I can’t think of many qualities that we want to develop more in our children.  Knowing that your child is telling you the truth gives great comfort, especially as they get older and are given a longer leash and increasing levels of independence.  We can talk about the importance of being trustworthy endlessly as parents, and sadly, we probably all have plenty of examples where we can site a lack of trustworthiness in a friend, classmate, teammate or even a family member, and easily recall the negative impact it had on our lives.  But, what do your kids think about the importance of being trustworthy?

We’ve talked in the past about ways to start conversations with your kids on tough topics and the importance of talking to them openly and regularly about everyday life situations and events.  Here are a few questions you can ask to get the conversation on trust started:

  • What does being trustworthy means to you?
  • What does the word integrity mean to you?
  • Do you think you are a loyal person?
  • Are you good at keeping secrets?  Would your friends say you’re good at keeping secrets?
  • How do you know when you can trust someone?
  • If trust is broken, what are some ways you think it might be earned back?
  • What does being trustworthy have to do with the quality of your character?
  • Do you think you’ve ever been lied to by a friend or family member?  If so, how did it make you feel?
  • What are the benefits of being a trustworthy person? How do you benefit from the trustworthiness of others?

Our kids never want to disappoint us, although clearly sometimes they do.  I believe that if you talk to your kids about the importance of trust and why it’s essential that they are perceived to be a trustworthy person, they will think twice about being dishonest or putting themselves in a position of distrust. And remember, holding kids accountable for bad, dishonest choices is the most important part of the process… if they don’t feel like there will be consequences for bad choices, what will be their motivation to stop making them?

I can’t wait to hear how your “trust talks” go. Please share!

In gratitude,