Speaking the Right Language #sol18
March 1, 2018
I skimmed an article online the other day that said that the key to maintaining a solid, happy relationship was expressing love in the way that your partner wants to receive it. The ways to receive love were fairly standard: receiving gifts, quality time, words of affirmation, acts of service (devotion), and physical touch. The trick is knowing which way feels like love to another person.
I’m totally clear with the way I express love to others, I do things. On a daily basis for the last at least 30 years, I’ve packed a morning lunch for myself, my husband, and at some points along the way, one or two sons. The lunches are fairly standard with the exception of having homemade cookies or dessert in them nearly every day. As many parents (and perhaps spouses), I try to keep to favorites and add a few surprises along the way. In addition, many people have received knitted scarves or Monday cakes and cookies over the years. I also adore to make dinner for family and friends.
The way I give affection and the thinking about how others may want to receive it made me think about the way I deliver coaching as well. Do I deliver my assistance, my coaching, my partnership in a way that is optimally received by the other person? Is it what they expected? Needed? or even wanted?
I’ve had some amazing partnerships over the years. So beneficial and rewarding to me and I believe rewarding to the other folks involved. An amazing partnership with a first grade team in my home state. Debbie Miller enthusiasts, we planned our cozy classrooms with child center learning right out of the pages of Reading with Meaning including a pilgrimage to see Ms. Miller herself. I have a wonderful mentor relationship with my far flung former literacy specialist partner in crime trudging to New York a couple of times a year, going to workshops, talking on the phone during our commutes, sharing reading and driving each other forward. In the eight years I have been in my current position, I have forged true partnerships, teaching in the trenches with so many wonderful educators storied in my instagram and twitter feeds. However during these many relationships and all the new ones I begin, I think… what is it that these teachers really wants… and needs?
As you know, occasionally our wants and needs are in conflict with each other. We can’t see the forest for the trees and all that. More often that not, I’ll say that I’m not sure of either: the want or the need. I made a calculated stab at it, asking some tried and true questions and more often than not, I get on the board, if not in the bullseye. Sometimes, it takes time to be truly helpful. You have to wait for it. Watch for it. Nurture it.
So much like the thirty eight years of lunch making, it may not be Mr. K’s preferred expression of love. Maybe his original family was better at expressions of affirmations, maybe they were huggers. My way of providing support to teachers may not be their preferred way, but I hope it’s an honest way, a dependable way, a helpful way today and that it improves tomorrow.
Day 1 of my 31 day writing streak! Thanks to my dear friend, Clare Landrigan (@clareandtammy) for the encouragement, my special blogging partners who support whatever I throw down, and the Slice of Life community beautiful choreographed by the Two Writing Teachers team. Give writing daily a try and read some beautiful words here.