SP-181 Interpersonal Communications: Part I

In January of this year I decided to return to college for the eighth time? I am still working towards a useless associates degree. I may even graduate next fall semester. My speech class did not transfer and I needed one to fulfill a requirement. Being an experienced facilitator and speaker a speech class sounded dreadful. When the counselor said, “How about Interpersonal Communications?” I thought “Perfect! My previous managers told me to stop making my coworkers cry. I could use some interpersonal direction.” Well, here I am with only a couple weeks left in class and a slew of forum posts on the book chapters I never read. My instructor loved my writings and suggested I compile a book, or be a stand up comedian. As I already have this platform I opted to share those writings here. These are my personal commentaries on questions related to class material. These will be different than my previous blog posts and have minimal editing. I feel it is time to move my writings into a more authentic light. I hope you enjoy my thoughts just as my professor has this semester. (Each chapter focus and question are at the beginning of each post to provide the reader with a bit of background.)

Create safe places for yourself and you don’t have to be liked by everybody and the day you can get that down you know some people like you some people don’t that’s wonderful and the ones who don’t like you that’s great let them find their way.

Peter Woodbury from Edgar Cayce on Empathy, Sensitivity, and Boundaries: From Karma to Compassion

Process of Communication (Ch. 1)

Terms:

cognitive complexity

decode/encode

linear vs. transactional communication models

Goals:

Apply the transactional communication model to a specific situation

Describe how communication principles are evident in a specific situation

Question:

Explain the principle, “communication is irreversible.” Use personal examples to demonstrate how this principle has affected your own life.


The age old saying of, “Didn’t your mother tell you, if you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all,” comes to mind. I bet if I looked into this it probably stems from the Golden Rule and has been around in various cultures for centuries. The principle “communication is irreversible” refers to the fact the mind cannot unsee or unhear communication styles. (With the exceptions of brain damage and disease.) A simple example would be my dogs and their leashes. Their leashes hang outside on the back lanai. If someone accidentally touches one they make a sound. It doesn’t matter where my dogs are, once they hear the jingle, jingle they are running towards you full speed expecting a walk. For years my dogs have associated a certain sound with a WALK! They cannot unhear the sound. So one the rare occasion my KC Chiefs lanyard with my jingling keys makes it into the house, my dogs expect a walk. The sound is similar and they do not care if it’s my car keys or their leashes, they are going out. Another, more common example would be the act of repeating a conversation in your head. Ever have an argument with someone where they said something hurtful or you did? Didn’t matter if it was true, it stuck with you or the other person. Communication is irreversible, that is one reason modern parents are so exhausted. Child psychology has introduced us to a whole new world of parenting. In our day, adults didn’t phrase their words softly so as to not scar us for life. We were told to walk it off. As a parent now, I am cognizant of how my children hear my words and interpret my non-verbal communications. When I am having a conversation with one of them, I make an effort to put my phone down or to stop typing. I do my best to give them my full attention. My poor daughter taught me about the use of colloquialisms. When she was 5 years old we were at the aquarium on Maui. It was January and insanely windy. Not even thinking about it I told my daughter to “not blow away.” Apparently I scarred her for life. For years she was terrified the wind would literally blow her away. Although we have discussed this and she is now 13, she is not fond of the wind. It’s just something she can’t unhear.


Perception (Ch. 4)

Terms:

selection / interpretation / negotiation / organization

narrative

perception checking

self-serving bias

Goals:

Explain how influences on perception influence communication in a specific situation.

Enhance your cognitive complexity by applying the “pillow method” to a significant disagreement.

Question:

Choose one of the following social roles—gender, occupational or relational—then explain how this area has influenced your perceptions. Use examples from your own life in your discussion.


Choose one of the following social roles—gender, occupational or relational—then explain how this area has influenced your perceptions. Use examples from your own life in your discussion. Gender roles have been an issue for me since kindergarten. My mother has a Ph.D. and was a US Naval Officer for thirty years. My father was a certified nursing assistant during most of that time. He and I come from a matrilineal Native American tribe 40 miles west of Albuquerque. My adolescent gender roles were completely different than my classmates. One day I came home from kindergarten quite upset. The teaching assistant told me my mother couldn’t be a doctor, she had to be the nurse, and my father had to be the doctor. Needless to say I did not want to be on the receiving end of the phone call my mother made to school. (This was the same T. A. who taught me how to spell my name incorrectly.) Growing up my mother was the responsible breadwinner with a career. My father took care of me during the day, did all the household work (laundry, cooking, cleaning), worked at nights, and had poor spending habits. In addition to this, my mother did not change her last name. I still find it odd when women acquiesce to this sexist custom. Hey, it is a woman’s right to choose, so as long as she chose it then whatever. Let us add some fuel to this fire I call my childhood. Not only are the gender roles opposite in my immediate family, they are different on my father’s side of the family as well. Apparently it was not enough to be the only child of a female Naval Officer, I also had to be a half-breed (half white/half Native) growing up in White America. Yeah me. Pueblos, I am Laguna Pueblo, are a matrilineal tribal societies. This means our heritage is passed down through the mother’s side. Mothers are respected above all else. Her husband leaves his family and moves in with her family. This once applied across tribes as well. My uncle was Acoma Pueblo, when he married my aunt, he left his home, and moved into ours. We also honor the family of the mother. Mother’s brother is the disciplinary of her children, not their father. My father was “Mother’s Brother” and he hated the role, although it still holds much respect for him.  By the time I was an adult, I understood my unique upbringing. It has always been something I embraced as a strong willed independent woman, and now mother. My name includes both of my parent’s last names Callahan and Aragon. My ex-husband took my last name about two years into our marriage and he kept it after we divorced. My children have the two same last names as I do. I still come across people who think this is odd, especially here in Hawaii. Growing up everyone assumed my father was the service member, although he served in Vietnam, he was my mother’s spouse. I have noticed the changes as well. A couple of years ago I was chatting with some young sailors. When I mentioned being a Navy Brat one of them asked if my mother or father had served. I was shocked and very proud. I remember my mother’s first duty station. It did not have a women’s restroom. There was a sign on the men’s door that had to be flipped to “Women’s Head.” Probably why I never wondered what the men’s restroom looked like. I knew before I was three years old. It will be interesting to see how gender roles change with the upcoming generation. My daughter is pan sexual and prefers they/them pronouns. My son found his sister’s skirt quite comfortable yesterday and wore it for hours. I told him he’s Scottish, the Scotts have kilts. Not to mention the ‘ie lavalava he has seen growing up on Oahu. They have seen the first female democratic presidential candidate. They have witnessed the first (biracial) female Vice President of the U.S. My daughter has been impressed with Biden’s diverse Cabinet. Children are growing up with a concept of fluid gender roles. I believe in balance, but it takes three movies, three iffy prequels, and a cartoon to finally produce a new generation of movies and TV shows.

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