Your Communication Style – A Guide for the Challenged

Your Communication Style – A Guide for the Challenged

Modern communications are fraught with unwritten rules. For many of us, it is a minefield to figure our way through the simplest of human interactions – when using a device or social media that is. Back in the olden days it was all so much simpler. For instance, I have to hand it to the Victorian era Brits, they had established and well understood social rules. Everybody knew what they were, and although the populace was busy breaking them in the bedroom, they held up the “what what old chappie” in public. Nowadays it is all so very complex and the rules are unclear. Many people make communication missteps and yet there is no social manual to check. This quick and easy guide will help you figure out some of the ways you may be annoying your friends, and help you not to be “that guy” at work.  Are you making a caricature of yourself?  The Mad Hatter – you send somebody multiple messages and clever Tweets. They ignore you so you tweet harder and louder at them. Maybe your hat band is too tight, but if you want to have actual interaction with another human, stay the hell off Twitter Eyore – you get a text from a friend or colleague, or an email with questions or even work related stuff and you just can’t get to it Pooh. You drag your sad ears across the keyboard and then give up and have a nap. Nobody likes a stoned donkey. Norman Bates – can’t wait until your target is out of the shower? They didn’t answer the phone so you do the unthinkable and leave a voicemail. Who does that anymore? Or worse, you ring back ten minutes later. Don’t be Norman.. just be cool, she has call display – back the bad sweater off big boy. Tinkerbell – you send little short messages with winky faces and sparkles but say nothing. Some people are busy and when the phone indicates there is a text, especially during work hours, you had better have more to say than “can you guess who I saw at the mall?”.  And then, when you get a text back taking the bait, you don’t respond for three hours. I will go all Norman Bates on your ass. Jack Nicholson in The Shining – You want IN THAT ROOM – which in modern human interaction actually means facetime or Skype or whatever. You need to understand these are now considered meetings Jack. You can’t just take your ax to the door and call somebody and expect them to speak with you, or assume their hair is done and want to videochat . Nowadays, you text...
The Two Ingredient Life

The Two Ingredient Life

This guest post is by the fabulous and quite famous Lynn Morrison, writer of the even more notorious Nomad Mom Diary. We heart each other and this I welcome her flurry of wise words on my blog… When the weather cools down and the leaves on the ground start to grow larger than the piles of post-pregnancy hair lying in my bathroom floor, I like to bake. There is nothing better than coming in from the cold to a warm, ginger-apple-pumpkin scented home… Well ok, I guess coming in skinny might make it a bit better, or if Brad Pitt were in my kitchen. But I digress. Anyway, this autumn the time changed and the temps dropped and I began frantically searching for the perfect pumpkin muffin recipe to kick off the weekends. And wouldn’t you know it, every damn recipe I could find was for “Two Ingredient Muffins”. One box of spiced cake mix. One can of pumpkin. And voila! Voi-freaking-no-la. When did it become acceptable to classify a two-item or less shopping trip and a spatula as a “recipe”? Row after row on the recipe websites. Pages of google search results. One click after another, each time uncovering another mockery of weekend “baking with love” ritual. And this got me to thinking. The problem isn’t with the recipe itself. It is with the hundreds of people giving it four and five stars. Hundreds of people whose votes scream, “I want things to be simple. I want my life to be mass-manufactured and handed to me on a platter. I don’t want to think or explore. I just want two magical ingredients that will make everything come out perfect.” I’ve got news for you. Nothing that is made of two mass-produced ingredients is ever going to be good. Not your muffins. Not your life. Not even your rum and coke. If you want something that is truly great, you are going to have to spice it up a bit, and, for god’s sake, put some effort into it. Magnolia and I, we’ve been there and through it all. Mistakes in life and love. Packing up the kids and moving halfway across the country or the world. Doing a giant cannonball into the deep end of life’s adventures. And of all of this, aside for providing fodder for our blogs, has given us these incredibly rich experiences to savour as we grow older and the adventures grow fewer and farther apart. We may wake up one day and discover we have made a giant mess, but we will never wake up and think, “what if I had done this, gone there or seen that.” We’ll pass down through the...
Should I teach my child a second language?

Should I teach my child a second language?

  This reader question is an interesting one. To get the best answer, this guest post is from rather an expert on the topic. Meet Olga Mecking, author of The European Mama. She has some experience with languages… and children, so I tapped her for the perfect answer: My husband and I are raising our children to speak three languages. Mind you, none of these languages are “cry”,” whine” or “scream”. Notice English isn’t one of them? Although my eldest daughter learned to count to ten and sing, “Happy birthday boo you” in this language while I wasn’t looking. Instead, I teach them my native Polish, my husband speaks German and we live in the Netherlands where our whole family is learning Dutch. I was raised to speak Polish and German, and later learned English, French and Dutch. I love thinking, speaking, reading and writing in multiple languages. So if you asked me me whether you should teach your child a second language, my answer would be: “Whaaaat? You haven’t started upon conception? Didn’t you know that your child won’t become the genius he is created to be?” Please excuse me while I run around in circles, screaming. No, relax. I promise I won’t do that. Instead, let me tell you that bilingualism has many benefits for you and your child. It can make you smarter, postpone or prevent Alzheimer’s disease, allow your child do better at school, give them the pleasure of appreciating different ways of communicating and thinking. It is actually great exercise for the brain. But if you want to do it, at least do it right. The best dual language immersion school will do nothing for your child if he or she doesn’t feel well there. Don’t choose a language because it is useful or it will give your child a head-start. Choose a language that you feel a personal connection to. That you think it’s beautiful. Or your family used to speak but stopped, wanting their children to become fully integrated. Choose a language you speak. If you’re pregnant or have just had a baby and if you speak a language really well, you can use that language while speaking to your child. Your husband will then speak in English. Or the other way round. If your child is older, look for playgroups, babysitters, au pairs, daycares or schools that offer good quality language input. Never be ashamed of speaking a different language with your child and don’t let anyone tell you that it will confuse your little one. Do not let anyone tell you that the Polish/Chinese/Arabic you speak is of less importance than English. Don’t listen to people who will tell you...