Let us talk and converse…
I wanted to begin my column with a personal note. I have recently moved my residency to Willingboro NJ. where I first lived more the 60 years ago. One of my circles of life has come “round again”. This is a happy move as I am now living with my partner Rick.
This move has reminded me of the beauty and necessity of good interpersonal relationships in life, whether between a couple or with parishioners within a church. To help you understand my style of communication it will be helpful to know a few things:
I am somewhat vision impaired so I tend to send written communications in large font. I am not YELLING, which is generally done in all CAPS…LOL. I tend to respond to emails in short direct sentences, not to be rude but, in the interest of time which is limited because of my hours. Also, it is cultural. I am a north Jersey/ NY talker, sometimes very direct and compounded by my Jewish background which means in verbal communications, all things are stories, and not simple recitations of facts. That’s why my emails are short and my spoken words long. What some say in a sentence we Jews can only say in a paragraph. My motto is “never say in a few words, what you can say in many”!… lol. I have learned and find it interesting that our Pottstown area is far more reserved then the ethnic environs in which I grew up. I am guessing that many at UUFP have German or northern European roots. “Vive La Difference”.
Our different backgrounds are welcome for that mix of people is a blessing, opening us to new experiences and learning, but, yes it does present some real world challenges. It is important for all of us to speak as clearly as possible and to reach out to the person we are in dialogue with to clarify what we think we have heard. Direct conversation is easier than emails because you get cues from our tone of voice, body language, facial expressions, and volume; to name just a few. This is a reason not to have important conversations thru emails. Too much room for misunderstanding.
All this is to say, “let us assume, the person we are in dialogue with has the best intentions and motivations”. If that proves otherwise then asking for clarification is helpful, using, “I and feeling statements” not accusatory or with hostility. We are all human and subject to miscommunications, hearing and speaking. The beauty of this community is that we are motivated by love to listen with an open heart and charitable ear. We can be open to each other’s thoughts, feelings and words.
In closing, I invite you into dialogue with me and each other so that we can continue to build that shining new Jerusalem.
Rev. Paul D. Daniel