The Art of Communication

The note was attached to the front page of our morning newspaper. “Dear customer,” it read, “I am taking over my daughter’s route for the next few weeks. Getting up very early to drive the route is too hard for her at this time. She is expecting a baby in the next few weeks. She doesn’t want to give up the route because it is a steady source of income for her family. For this reason I will be doing her route for a while. I would appreciate your patience. If your paper is late, I hope you will forgive me.”

I smiled when I read it. I’m not one to complain about a late newspaper, anyway, but with a thoughtful, sweet note like that, I would have waited until Christmas.

Interacting successfully with other people, as we all know, is one of the great challenges of life. That is why I think this man’s note to his daughter’s customers was pure genius. The letter was written in a candid, open-hearted way. He had anticipated a problem and acted to prevent it. This is an example of communication at its best.

The word “communicate” to many people implies writing or speaking but it is much more than that. It is an art form.

We’ve all known people who are lonely and frustrated but they don’t understand why. In some cases, part of the problem is poor communication skills. Perhaps they don’t express themselves adequately. In other cases, they are unable to see how their words or actions impact others. Grudges, hurt feelings, and resentment can result. These individuals lack what my Native American friends, the Lenni-Lenape people, call “the Spirit of Awareness.”

Communicating in a way that brings out the best in ourselves as well as others is a worthy goal, one that we can all aspire to. It takes hard work and practice. I so admire those who do it well, like the man who took the time to write a note to his daughter’s paper-route customers. Kudos to him, whoever he is.

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Amy's new novel, Miss Dreamsville and the Lost Heiress of Collier County, will be published in Sept. 2015 by Atria/Simon & Schuster in New York. "Lost Heiress" is a sequel to Amy's first novel, Miss Dreamsville and the Collier County Women's Literary Society. Born in New England, Amy spent her childhood in Columbia, South Carolina. She began her career as a newspaper reporter in Florida, eventually moving to New York, where she wrote for The New York Times. In 1993, Amy published her first book, the New York Times bestseller turned Broadway play, Having Our Say: The Delany Sisters' First 100 Years. To Pre-order Amy's new novel, please visit SimonandSchuster.com or Amazon.com

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Comments

  1. says

    I saw a wonderful (and humorous) example of communication in the grocery story the other day. A woman was looking for something on the shelf, obviously having no luck. Her patience was at its limit. Finally, in frustration, the woman stomped her foot and growled. Then, the little toddler next to her put her hands on her tiny hips and said, “Use your words, Mommy!”

  2. says

    I’m with you, Amy! And I may have to even stick around one morning and greet that dear old daddy. :) Love that– and Kellie’s story, priceless little one story.

  3. Rachel Hauck says

    Amy, so true. We must communicate to be heard, understood. I think we don’t want to take the time, you know?

    And I find many people are so lax about it. “Oh, it’s okay, they don’t need to know.” Or “Nah, I don’t want to write a note. it’ll be fine.”

    Too much thinking of themselves rather than others.

    Great post! A good reminder.

    Rachel

  4. Lisa Wingate says

    What a sweet story, Amy! I think you’re right that this note was pure genius. What a smart and loving dad. I think his daughter and that baby are very fortunate ;)

  5. says

    Hallo, Hallo Ms. Hearth,

    When I read the note you shared about the route for the paper and how lovely it was that a note was included to let the readers of the paper know what had happened reminds me a bit of all the lovely random & joyous conversations I have with writers on Twitter! :) I am always a bit giddy when a convo starts between myself and a writer, either one I have read, want to read next, or have not even discovered as of yet, but our paths have crossed in the twitterverse. I cherish those conversations, as they put the humanity back into Twitter and being social online. I’m a chatty kind of gal, and I like getting to know people, but one thing I think is true is that communication tends to be a bit rare these days. I even find it on Twitter; not everyone is used to a reader wanting to take to a writer or vs versa. Blogging has extended the friendliness as has the ability to tweet in real time, but I even noticed locally, that if you were to compliment a waitress or Chef, you’re stepping outside the box. Not that that ever stopped me, because I like knowing about food and especially the food that is being prepared. l like making connections with those in my community – whether we are virtually connected or whether we’re locally in the same place.

    I personally love Native American philosophy and the inclusion of that reference made me smile! Yes, the act of being aware is nearly lost on most these days, but it is the simple act of generosity of spirit that I find surprises people the most. Kindness is not as hard to communicate as some might think, but the lasting impression of joy that spins out of a kind hearted note or spoken aloud sentiment can be cherished always.

    • says

      Hi Jorie! Oh, your post made my day. Thanks for stopping by here on the porch. Making connections to others is what it’s all about, isn’t it? I love what you wrote: “…it is the simple act of generosity of spirit that I find surprises people the most.” So true!

      • says

        *waves back*

        Ms. Hearth,

        I’m so delighted hearing that! :) I have meant to drop by the Porch quite regularly, but life has been quite full and my visits have been limited. When I read this through Bloglovin earlier today it stirred something inside me as I could simply relate to the topic! :) Always delighted in knowing I gave someone a bolsterment of joy! Wicked!

  6. says

    I’m always telling Miss A, like Kelly said, to “use her words.” However, sometimes I am guilty of not communicating clearly myself. Thanks for this sweet reminder, Amy! That man sounds like such a wonderful father!

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