My friend Connie told me a story of her youngest child—he was a good kid. He seemed happy but never had much to say…UNTIL his older siblings left home; then he became a big talker. Later in life Connie realized that he wasn’t really a quiet kid, he just couldn’t get a word in edgewise when his siblings were around.
Imagine if you could measure opportunity, with the scores ranging from 0 to 10. I would say that he would have scored low, maybe a two. How could one boost their score, you may ask? Through a combination of courage on your part, and someone else’s kindness. We must have the courage to speak up and share our message; and someone else must extend their kindness in the form of listening, and caring about what is being said. You must learn to put your ideas out into the world, even at the risk of others responding negatively.
We recently opened a new community living medical home for people who are leaving an institution; and along the way we’ve heard many remarkable stories about our new family members. One that truly resonated with me was the story of an individual who we assumed was non-verbal, and one day just started talking!
To our surprise he knew how to talk—yet for some reason had stopped. At some point during his time with our staff, we provided a perfect opportunity for him to verbally engage with us; he was courageous, and we reciprocated his courage with kindness.
This scale of opportunity applies everywhere— at home when we’re really listening to our family and friends; and in the community, when we’re courageous and speak up about what matters in our neighborhood. We need to be truly mindful and intentionally about combatting all the conditions that can offset and disrupt communication.
At KenCrest we’re all about building communication within community; let’s keep our scores high— be courageous and be kind.