Sunday, May 29, 2016

Personal Communication

This week for our class, we had to take some personal assessments for our communication in three different categories and then have other people complete the same assessment about us too.

When looking at communication anxiety, my husband and I both scored myself differently. I scored myself at 44 in the mild category while he scored me at 59 in the moderate category. He said it was hard for him to really evaluate me, even though he's seen and heard me speak lots of times, he had a hard time knowing how if I personally felt anxiety or not. I would say that realistically I have low anxiety speaking, except right before I actually speak, and then it spikes extremely high!

For the listening one my husband and I both rated me in the category of being a people-oriented listener who listens with relationships in mind. I would say that is a good assessment of how I value listening as a part of communication.

It's interesting how sometimes people can see you the same way you see yourself, and sometimes they can see you in a completely different light.

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Different Communication to Different People

Do I communicate to other groups of people differently?

I think that I would like to say no, I'm the exact same person no matter where I'm at or who I'm with. Except I know that's not really true in reality.

When I communicate with Christians I probably throw an extra "it's all in God's timing" or a "oh I'll be praying hun" for good measure. But when I'm communicating to non-Christian's I try to stay away from Christian lingo, it's more general.

When I communicate to mom's I talk a lot about my kids, what they're doing right now, what we're struggling with, etc. When I communicate to women who aren't mom's yet I talk more about fashion, weather, date nights, movies, etc.

When I communicate to someone I'm trying to impress I gauge what they're interested in. When I communicate to my best friend or my husband I'm real and honest. When I communicate to my family, I laugh a lot.

I try really hard to not wear masks around people, to be authentic. But I also don't want to look like a fool, so I try to read demographics and locations. Like knowing when to say pop or soda, buggy, or shopping cart, carriage or stroller.

I really do communicate with people differently, mostly because I want each person I communicate with to hear me or to know me better on whatever level we're on.

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Mute Communication

For an assignment this week, we had to watch an episode of a show we've never seen before, but with the sound off, to analyze communication styles, the character's relationships, and non-verbal cues.

I chose the show The Grinder, from Fox, solely based on the fact that my husband has really been wanting to watch this show.

As the show opens you see a family watching a season finale of a tv show called the Grinder. The main character of that show appears to be a lawyer, as they pan on the family watching the show, that main actor (Rob Lowe) is sitting there, with whom I'm guessing is his brother (Fred Savage), his brother's wife, their 2 kids, and I'm guessing the brother's dad. Everyone in the room, except Fred's character, seemed very excited about the tv show. It clips to Fred's character who seems like he's venting to his wife, but they appear like they really love each other, as she tries to cheer him up. Their son knocks on the door and looks like he may be mimicking his uncle's tv show character.

As the show progresses I gather that the brothers really do like each other and have a great relationship with their dad. Fred's character is a lawyer in real life, but it seems like everyone else around him is turning to his brother (Rob), the actor who portrays a lawyer, for legal advice, including a negotiation at the dinner table between Rob's character and his nephew on one side and his niece and her boyfriend on the other side.

There is also this portrayal of the real lawyer being more of a homely character while the actor is all styled up, until mid-way through the episode where it looks like the actor is trying to pretend he is a real lawyer, and now seems like he's looking or acting like his brother.

It was interesting how much more I paid attention to other detail of their body language, clothing attire, if someone had a wedding ring or not, and facial expressions, when I didn't have the sound and dialogue to lean back on. It was hard though because as much as I forced myself to pay attention, it was hard to not feel lost. It would have been a lot easier if I had already seen this show or knew the characters because I would have already had context, foundation, and known plot lines to go off of to determine what was going on.

We re-watched the episode, with sound this time. It was definitely a lot funnier with the audio! And it turns out that the brother (Fred) really didn't like having his brother around, they weren't as close as I thought they were. And his wife wasn't trying to cheer him up, she was actually making fun of him. But yes everyone else was preferring "Rob's" legal advice over the real lawyer's.

All in all I was probably 50-50 on figuring out communication. Which honestly proves that listening, really listening, is the strongest communication asset that we have and when it's not used there are so many misunderstandings that can occur.

Friday, May 6, 2016

Competent Communication

This week marked the year anniversary of starting my master's degree, I started my 7th class in said master's degree, Keven officially ended year 2 of being back at school, and I was officially ordained (more on that to come later)! It's been a busy week :)

But with a new class comes an entirely new topic to explore through blogging. This one happens to be communication, pretty convenient for a blog. This week we have to think of someone that has competent communication, what makes them effective, and what would we want to model from them.

I decided to take a deeper look at Rev. George O. Wood. He is the General Superintendent of the Assemblies of God, and was the speaker at our Ordination Ceremony this past week.

Rev. George O. Wood speaking during the Ordination Ceremony

He spoke with confidence, made great eye contact, and had a message that really met each person where they were at. His downfall was that he was a little long winded, but it was filled with great content. The thing that stood out to me the most about his message was his use of visual aides (a giant power point presentation behind him with pictures that reinforced each point of his message) and the fact that his speech was filled with stories. Most of his stories were not personal to him, he retold of gallant efforts of people of the Assemblies of God that had done amazing things. But he made each story personal, he told them in a way that made you feel as if you were listening to Grandpa tell you about all of your late relatives. Rev. George Wood invited each person into the story, to not only listen and learn something, but to place yourself in their shoes.

In my own personal communication, I know I need to get better at memorization and eye contact. I have a bad habit of relying too heavily on my notes if their in front of me. But I also want to incorporate more story-telling in my sermons/speeches. Story-telling is a lost art form, but can be very powerful when applied correctly.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Professional Hopes and Goals

This class on Diversity finishes this week! My 6th master's class is almost done! I have 5 left, I'm officially over half way there. So it's time for my last blog post for this class.

-One hope about diversity: I look at my own kids and I have hope in them. I see them make friends with kids who are different from them, they may have a different color of skin, or different abilities, or be a different gender, but my kids don't see that. All they see is that they are friends with this really nice girl or boy. I want to be more like my own kids and I want to continue to teach that to the other children I work with, that they should get to know someone's heart first before they make a decision about them.

-One goal for the early childhood field: I think that each person that works with children should be required to take professional development hours in the topics of diversity regardless of the location of their center/school. Too many people put diversity into a racial box and say that it has nothing to do with their school because everyone there is the same race. However, diversity goes way beyond that and encompasses everyone. If more teachers were received continued education in diversity, we would have a better chance of passing on a good viewpoint of diversity onto the following generations.

-I'm thankful for this class, and to all of my colleagues and classmates. I've learned a lot from each of you, thank you.

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Welcoming Families from Around The World

Let's imagine for a moment that a family from another country has just immigrated to the U.S., and is now enrolling their child into your center. How would you prepare to be culturally responsive to them?

We had to choose a country that we know nothing about so I googled what the most obscure countries are and selected country #5: Suriname. It was the only one on the list that I had actually remembered hearing about once, the others I truly had no idea existed. Suriname is located in South America.

5 ways I would prepare to be culturally responsive:
1. Find out what language they primarily speak. The national language of Suriname is Dutch, however 20 languages are spoken in their country, including Creole. For this case, let's assume they speak the national language of Dutch-in which case I would purchase a few popular children's books that are written in Dutch.
2. I would learn a few phrases in Dutch, primarily ones that would help the child be comfortable in the classroom-key components of our schedule (circle time, recess, art, lunch, etc.), how to ask if they need to use the bathroom, stop, yes, no, hi, and goodbye.
3. I would find an interpreter to be available for key parent meetings between our teachers and the parents. I would try to translate our important forms and parent handbook into Dutch, so they understand what our center is about and the primary rules.
4. In Suriname their primary meal is chicken and rice, but they usually eat at 3pm. I would talk to the parents about their family's eating schedule in comparison with when our children eat lunch and snacks at the center to make sure they are not expecting us to feed their child dinner at 3pm, when we would normally only feed them an afternoon snack.
5. Because the current center I am at is a Christian center, I would want to know more about their religion. 80% of Surinamese are Hindi. I would want to find out if they were, and to explore that with the family.
6. I would post a few pictures of Surinamese people around the room and try to find out what types of toys we could include in the classroom that may be more familiar to them.

I would hope that the above (and probably a lot more I'm not thinking of) would help the family, especially the child, to be more comfortable in not only just a new school setting (education is very important in Suriname) but also in a brand new country. Going through these preparations would help to remind me that even though this is a new family, like other new families, we need to remember that there will be more differences because of traditions, customs, and language barriers.

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

The Personal Side of Prejudice, Bias, and Opression

It's week 6 of my class on Diversity, and we're reflecting back on what we've learned so far in the last few weeks as well as our own experiences with prejudice. I've had a few negative experiences so far, one concerning racism, but the rest included genderism.

It's really hard to be a female pastor sometimes. There have been plenty of times where people would come up to my husband and I in church and not only interact with him as if he were the pastor, but then be shocked when he diverted them back to me. There was also that one time that I showed up at a Catholic family's home because they couldn't find a pastor to come deliver last rites. Boy were they shocked when a pregnant female protestant pastor came instead. 

But the times that were the hardest were when I was at any large meeting without my husband. I always felt like I had leprosy or some other infectious disease that made anyone I tried to have a conversation with run away. One time in particular, after several hours of male pastors shortening our conversations, one of my colleagues (from my church) tried to offer me their seat at the table for lunch. I lost it! I was sick of being the girl in the group and didn't want to have to sit, while others stood, just because I was the girl, after everyone had been avoiding me all day. 

The reality of the situation was he was my friend, viewed me as a pastor, and was just trying to be nice. But after an entire day of feeling like I was under full on genderism microagression assault, it was the last straw for me. I felt like a complete outsider and I was crushed.

Looking back on the situation, I've learned a few things. I, first, need to not take everything personal (like my friend offering me the seat), that was not an attack on my gender. Secondly, I need to remember that not all male pastors are against female pastors. And lastly, I need to find those that are for us (and other female pastors) and stick to that group in those types of functions and not concern myself with the others.