Tag Archives: conversation

Conversations

I have had a few really great conversations this week on other blogs, and I thought it would be interesting to share them here.

Note, the following blog posts do not necessarily reflect my opinion. A couple of these conversations were interesting because I disagreed with the author. However, in each instance, the author engaged me with respect, and we had intelligent, enlightening interactions with one another.

I believe it’s important to read and consider things that we may not necessarily agree with. How will we know what we really believe about an issue if we’ve only ever heard one side?

“Prove all things; hold fast that which is good.” I Thessalonians 5:21

The Church Got it Wrong, by William Bouker

“The church would have us believe that the Law of Moses somehow became void.”

Interesting reading. The church definitely needs to see this. You will need to read the comments if you want to know where I stand.

The God of Slavery, by KIA

The God of slavery…again? by KIA

This blogger has written a series of posts about the immorality of slavery, what the Bible says about it, and the Christian response. I think it’s a topic we need to seriously consider. I think we need to read our Bibles to see what it really says instead of merely defending what we think it says. In my opinion, the topic of slavery foreshadows Christ. You will see what I mean if you read through the comments. (My comments are on the second link. I included the first link for context.)

Jesus and His Eternal Rest, by PreacherWin

When I first read this post, I agreed with almost every single word, but I misunderstood the author’s perspective. The conversation that ensued was quite interesting, to be sure! My last comment, however, was never approved for posting. I am assuming that the writer just hasn’t been on his blog lately, or that he wanted the last word. It is his blog, after all. Anyway, here is my last comment for you all to read, just in case it never shows up on his page. Note, you may want to read his article first, the comment section next, and finally my last comment, which follows:

Edited: He responded! I just hadn’t waited long enough, lol. So I’m going to delete my comment from this post. If you want to read the conversation, hop on over to his blog!

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A Laid-Back Approach to Language Learning

Laid BackWhile I have been tackling Spanish head on, I am taking a more laid-back approach with Ian. He has been watching tons of Spanish cartoons so that he can become accustomed to the way Spanish sounds. In all actuality, if he knew as many words as I did, I suspect that he would be able to comprehend the spoken language much better than I can at this point because he has spent so much time listening to it. To encourage us to start speaking Spanish in the home, I went to Babelfish and typed in several phrases that I commonly say to Ian over the course of a day or a week. (And by several, I mean four pages worth!) O.0

Yesterday, I started incorporating these phrases into our daily conversations, following up with the meaning of each phrase in English. It’s simple and easy, but very educational and fun! We are already speaking Spanish to one another, and I hope to increase the frequency of using these phrases slowly over time, as our knowledge increases.

To give you an idea of how to incorporate a second language into your daily activities, here is a list of just a few of the phrases I looked up:

I love you!

Good morning!

May I come in?

Let’s do your math.

Have you eaten anything?

Eat some spinach.

Do you want some hot chocolate?

Drink some water.

Write your outline.

Do you want me to read to you?

Let’s go to the library.

Let’s have lunch.

Read your Bible.

Play your instruments.

Let’s write a paragraph.

Watch something in Spanish.

Did you use your metronome today?

Let’s ride our bikes.

Let’s play a game.

Clean up your toys.

Do you want to invite a friend over?

Brush your teeth.

Get ready for bed.

 

Have fun learning!

Post from the Past: The Worst Advice

When I find myself thrown into a conversation with someone who is really struggling, my first goal is to say nothing that can harm them. The worst advice I could give them would be to encourage them to act in a way that will only make their situation worse. Oftentimes, though, this is the advice they expect to hear. It is the advice that our culture would naturally give. For instance, if your best friend is struggling in her marriage, she may expect you to “support” her by advising her to “put him in his place.” She may want you to validate the choices that she has been making because her husband deserves to be treated like a child. He is, after all, making her miserable and turning her into a sour person. When, really, the correct advice would be the opposite. Your best friend can’t expect to be able to change her husband. The only person she can change is herself. The more she tries to force her husband to change, the worse her situation will become.

God doesn’t put people into situations in which there are no right choices. There is always a right choice, even if that choice goes against our worldly reasoning. He doesn’t put wives into situations in which they cannot serve Him fully because their husbands won’t behave properly. Another person cannot come between her and God’s will for her life. Only she can do that. Instead of waiting for her husband to come ‘round, or instead of constantly nagging her husband and telling him what horrible decisions he makes or how badly he treats her, she should focus her energy on making each right choice in her life as she comes to it. What is the godly thing to do in this moment? She should do it. Five minutes later…what is the godly choice now? She should choose it. Advise her to treat her husband with the respect that his office demands, serving God and others in the meantime.

If she truly submits to the will of her husband, and can treat him respectfully in love and without sarcasm, he will probably come ‘round eventually. If not, well, people have suffered worse for the cause of Christ. This life is merely temporary anyway, and every situation will come to an end eventually. I heard a pastor quote yesterday, “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” It’s been tried, and it doesn’t work. Wives cannot force their husbands to change. They can merely do what is good and right on a consistent basis, and hope that their husbands “may without the word be won by the conversation [lifestyle] of the wives.” 1 Peter 3:1

Post from the Past: Good Conversation

Yesterday, I talked a little about making strangers feel comfortable. Sometimes, just talking a little can really help someone open up and feel at ease. If you are in a large group of people (at church especially), search out the person who looks the least comfortable or the most lonely, and strike up a good conversation with them.

What is a good conversation? Well, first of all, you want to pick a topic that the other person will be interested in. If crowds make you nervous too, say so! (I wouldn’t mention the fact that they look nervous, and that’s why you came to chat.) If you can find anything else in common with this person, talk about it. Think of your surroundings. Maybe you are at church or a seminar. What brought you there? What brought the other person there? If you don’t already know, ask. You probably already have something in common, as attested to by the mere fact that you are sharing the same space on the same day. If you just can’t think of anything, compliment jewelry or children – anything to get started. Talking about the weather is even acceptable, as long as you don’t leave it at that!

Try not to come across as superior. Maintain a humble attitude. Talk about your weaknesses (if you can do so without whining or complaining). Whatever you do, don’t one-up them! There are two ways to do that, by the way. You can either make your life look extremely better than theirs, or extremely worse. If you are truly concerned about the comfort level of the other person, you will steer clear of both extremes.

It’s difficult not to talk about our own children, cars, etc, especially if we are proud of them (or frustrated with them). But only mention your situation if it can help establish empathy for the other person. For instance, when people mention that their children aren’t doing well in school because they have a short attention span, I’ll say that my kid has a short attention span too. Sometimes I’ll add an illustration. I haven’t one-upped them; I’ve just established that I understand where they’re coming from. The last thing I would do is tell them that that’s one of the many reasons I homeschool, and then proceed to explain how well my kid is doing with his schoolwork. (I might, however, ask them if they have considered homeschooling. If they show an interest, I would of course answer any questions they might have. If they don’t show an interest, I wouldn’t push the benefits of homeschooling. Some people just aren’t in a position to homeschool, and others haven’t opened their minds to the idea. Just be friendly and humble.)

If you can be funny, go for it! Laughter is a great ice breaker. But more than finding the right responses, it’s important to just listen, as long as they feel like talking. If you can see that talking makes them even more uncomfortable, leave them alone, and find  someone else to chat with.

A prompt disguised as conversation…

Take on the role of your main character, and have a conversation with a friend or an unsuspecting stranger 😉

Take on the viewpoints and attitudes of your character. It would be best to try to get into some sort of discussion in which you do not agree so that your character can defend himself, thus revealing his personality and motivations more fully. Actors could use this prompt as well as writers!

One-sided Conversation

Drugs. When I was in junior high, one of my best friends started dabbling in drugs. It was an extremely painful process for me. I had known all my life to “say no to drugs,” and I worried about her a lot. I specifically remember a conversation that I had with my dad one afternoon. Before he met my mother, he had experimented with pot. He explained to me how it made you feel and how it slowed down your thinking process.

Going through the motions. One thing that I remember in particular was a description of “conversation” between two people who are high. He said that two people could be sitting there talking to each other, but they were basically just going through the motions. Neither was listening to what the other had to say. One might talk about his new car, and the other might talk about his brother the whole time. Neither responds to what the other one says. Basically, they are just talking to themselves while facing one another.

One-sided conversation. The other day, I overheard two men talking to each other. One was the pastor of a church, and the other was a youth pastor at another church (judging by their conversation). Now neither of them had been experimenting with drugs (to my knowledge), but their conversation had the same one-sided qualities as the one described above. It seemed strange at first, but as their conversation progressed, it struck me just how common it was. Here are my thoughts:

No exchange of information. I would venture to say, that on some level, most conversations are just two people talking about themselves. Each participant will (usually) politely wait for the other participant/s to finish speaking; then they will say what they had decided to say 30 seconds ago. They can’t really listen to the first speaker because they might forget what it is that they really want to say. It’s funny if you happen to eavesdrop on two people who are doing this to each other. (Not funny if you catch yourself doing it.) They don’t really exchange information at all. Each comment makes them think of something else they really want to say, usually to one-up the other person’s comments. Every time each person speaks, they are continuing their own monologue from where they left off. They don’t take anything new with them when they leave the conversation, because they were “sharing” more than they were listening. I would be tempted to call this a waste of oxygen.

Challenge: Next time you find yourself doing this, try to stop imagining how interested “they” would be to hear your stories, and just listen. If you have a really bad habit, just ask questions instead of making comments.

A quick confession: I catch myself doing this all the time, to people I love and in whom I am genuinely interested. It’s a problem for me. Maybe I have made the common mistake of assuming everyone else is wired like me, so maybe I’m the only one who really needs to pay attention to this post!

The Worst Advice

When I find myself thrown into a conversation with someone who is really struggling, my first goal is to say nothing that can harm them. The worst advice I could give them would be to encourage them to act in a way that will only make their situation worse. Oftentimes, though, this is the advice they expect to hear. It is the advice that our culture would naturally give. For instance, if your best friend is struggling in her marriage, she may expect you to “support” her by advising her to “put him in his place.” She may want you to validate the choices that she has been making because her husband deserves to be treated like a child. He is, after all, making her miserable and turning her into a sour person. When, really, the correct advice would be the opposite. Your best friend can’t expect to be able to change her husband. The only person she can change is herself. The more she tries to force her husband to change, the worse her situation will become.

God doesn’t put people into situations in which there are no right choices. There is always a right choice, even if that choice goes against our worldly reasoning. He doesn’t put wives into situations in which they cannot serve Him fully because their husbands won’t behave properly. Another person cannot come between her and God’s will for her life. Only she can do that. Instead of waiting for her husband to come ‘round, or instead of constantly nagging her husband and telling him what horrible decisions he makes or how badly he treats her, she should focus her energy on making each right choice in her life as she comes to it. What is the godly thing to do in this moment? She should do it. Five minutes later…what is the godly choice now? She should choose it. Advise her to treat her husband with the respect that his office demands, serving God and others in the meantime.

If she truly submits to the will of her husband, and can treat him respectfully in love and without sarcasm, he will probably come ‘round eventually. If not, well, people have suffered worse for the cause of Christ. This life is merely temporary anyway, and every situation will come to an end eventually. I heard a pastor quote yesterday, “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” It’s been tried, and it doesn’t work. Wives cannot force their husbands to change. They can merely do what is good and right on a consistent basis, and hope that their husbands “may without the word be won by the conversation [lifestyle] of the wives.” 1 Peter 3:1