Families are strengthened when there is good communication between the various members. Good communication doesn't just happen but must be encouraged and strengthened. Better communicate starts with being open and honest with each other, understanding the power of the words we use, and stepping outside of our own perspectives.
I have received various communications with the following information. I do not know the original author, but I recognize myself in some of statements. It is suggested that the following terms are "deadly" when used by a woman: 1) "Fine - this is the word women use to end an argument when they know they are right and you need to shut up; 2) Nothing - means something and you need to be worried; 3) Go ahead - this is a dare, not permission - do not do it; 4) Whatever - is a woman's way of saying screw you; 5) That's OK - she is thinking long and hard on how and when you will pay for your mistake. "
Families do not grow strong when they rely on "code" words such as those quoted above. The strongest marriages and strongest families speak to each other kindly and honestly, and they discuss problems until they have an acceptable solution to all involved. We must understand that we can change our world by the very words we use. [http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hzgzim5m7oU&feature]
Good communication is often obstructed by the perceptions of the people involved. Most people see an event from their own point of view and think that others have the same picture in mind. I often see what are considered to be "perception pictures." One particular picture shows an old hag if you look at it one way, but it shows a beautiful young woman if you look at it differently.
In his book The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Families, Stephen R. Covey shows a perception picture that looks like an Indian, but a different perspective shows an Eskimo with a spear and a hooded coat. What I find to be fascinating about these pictures is that I cannot see both an old hag and a beautiful young woman at the same time. The same is true with the Indian and the Eskimo; I can only see one or the other.
Covey explained in his book that he uses "these kinds of perception pictures to bring people to the realization that the way they see the world is not necessarily the way other people see the world. In fact, people do not see the world as it is; they see it as they are - or as they have been conditioned to be.
"Almost always this kind of perception experience causes people to be humbled and to be much more respectful, more reverent, more open to understanding."
Covey then explained how he tries to teach this Habit by going into the audience, borrowing a pair of glasses from one person and trying to talk another person into wearing those glasses. He wrote, "I tap into motivation, attitude, vanity, economic and social pressure. I intimidate. I guilt-trip. I tell her to think positively, to try harder. But none of these methods of influence works. Why? Because they all come from me - not from her and her unique eye situation.
"This brings us to the importance of seeking to understand before you seek to influence - of diagnosing before prescribing, as an optometrist does. Without understanding, you might as well be yelling into the wind. No one will hear you. Your effort may satisfy your ego for a moment, but there's really no influence taking place.
"We each look at the world through our own pair of glasses - glasses that come out of our own unique background and conditioning experiences, glasses that create our value system, our expectations, our implicit assumptions about the way the world is and the way it should be….
"One of the main reasons behind communication breakdowns is that the people involved interpret the same event differently. Their different natures and background experiences condition them to do so. If they then interact without taking into account why they see things differently, they begin to judge each other….
"As we project our conditioning experiences onto the outside world, we assume we're seeing the world the way it is. But we're not. We're seeing the world as we are - or as we have been conditioned to be. And until we gain the capacity to step out of our own autobiography - to set aside our own glasses and really see the world through the eyes of others - we will never be able to build deep, authentic relationships and have the capacity to influence in positive ways." (The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Families, pp. 201-204.
Families are strengthened when they use good communication skills such as being open and honest with each other, using words to change their world, and seeing events from a different perspective.