Gary's blog for couples and parents plus resources for individuals, leaders and churches.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Have A Good What?

The other day I was picking up a subscription and the cashier ended the sale with the oft-used greeting, "Have a good one." For some odd reason I started to think about what that really might have meant.  "Have a good day?"  Perhaps.  "Have a good week, month, year, decade, century, eternity?"  Not as likely. 

How about, "Have a good pill when your finally take one."  After all I was getting something that is related to my sleep.  As a result maybe he was saying, "Have a good night," as opposed to a lousy one which I can have now and then. Or more simply he was probably just wishing that I "have a good walk to the parking lot or a wonderful trip home."

Whatever he was saying it became for me one of those, "Yeah, whatever," moments.  I've heard that phrase hundreds of times from the Midwest to the Southwest. Does it mean anything?  Probably not.

But more importantly our communications with those we love can get pretty bland and rote too.  Do we say things that we assume they will understand, use tired responses that illicit their own whatevers or just get lazy avoiding expressions that truly matter and that our loved ones really long to hear.

Even "Love you!" as we drop someone off or end a phone conversation may not mean much if that's all we ever say or we just use it instead of "bye!"  How can we keep our conversation powerful and more significant than, "Have a good one?"  The best way is to stay or become intentional about saying things beyond the trite, everyday and habitual.

Ask yourself, "What do my kids probably long to hear that I haven't said for awhile?" "What might my spouse like to hear that I rarely say even though I may think it?"  Answering those two questions would be a good start and likely fuel other ideas.  I'm proud of you or I really do love you, you know or I can't think of any one else I'd rather have in this family besides you would be good places to start.

Another direction that we often overlook is inviting them to tell us what they think about whatever.  Tell me more about what you're thinking says a lot about how we view someone else.  Everyone likes the opportunity to talk and tell their story.  Do we sometimes not let our kids or spouses just talk because we can't be quiet long enough?

On the other hand don't overdo it and just get mushy, never say anything hard or negative or turn every event into a praise moment.  We were around a woman with a young baby not long ago who talked to her one year old plus child every time using baby talk and a baby-like voice. I suppose that's not the end of the world for now but she talked that way to the rest of us in the room, too. It was like having coffee with Snow White and Minnie Mouse.

We can show love and teach maturity by talking to our family members with respect, age-approrpriate words and a balance between praise and challenge.  What do you need to say today that goes beyond, "Have a good one."  Maybe next time I get my presecription I'll say, "Have a good what?"  Of course, my wife will never shop with me again.
Gary Sinclair Writer | Speaker | Leader

Gary is currently a consultant, teacher, speaker and chaplain providing resources for families, leaders and churches.

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