At three-years-old and not more than three-feet tall, my sweet, little Emily blurted out a statement I didn’t understand. With one hand on her hips and the other extended towards me like a stop sign, she said, “Mom I’m giving you the board!”
“I’m giving you the board!”
Repeatedly, I tried to grasp what I was being told. The more I probed for the meaning, the more frustrated Emily became. I asked my seven-year-old to translate. Hailey did her best to help me understand but still I was at a loss. Even to my trained ear their childhood accents were not decipherable to me this time. Soon all three of us became frustrated. Hailey stomped her foot and yelled, “Mom, she’s giving you the board! B-I-R-D, we can’t say our R’s!”
That I understood. Stifling my laughter, I explained to Emily why that was not a term she should say. I went on to tell her that if she ever gave me “the board” again, I would break her little “board.” Next, I made a mental note to call a speech therapist for the girls.
The point is that we sometimes say things we don’t mean or what we say has unintended consequences. Communication takes practice for all involved the speaker and the listener. Being cognizant of what we say and how we say it, is just as important as paying attention when listening. Asking for clarification is acceptable. Rephrasing is sometimes necessary. Every form of communication is important enough to practice. If we keep our ears perked up and our words impeccable we might all have a better understanding of one another.