If you had one, what was your favorite high-school summer job? One of my two answers was working at the local Laura Secord Candy Shop. A Canadian tradition, they’re known for delectable chocolates and delicious ice cream. Allowed to ‘sample’ wares within reason between customers, my stomach turned at the mere sight of chocolate long before September. This never happened with ice cream. I am roaring!
What Is Being Said?
Over forty years later, my love of waffle cones intact, I was intrigued by a recent caregiver ice-cream example that makes a vital point. Out for a drive, daughter asked Dad what flavor he would fancy at a recently-opened, family-run ice cream parlor. Dad ordered one scoop of his hazelnut favorite. Your wish is my command. Niggled, this friend sensed that father wanted more but he hesitated to ask. On the surface, one scoop was the stated request.
What Is Not Being Said?
A wise and watchful daughter, she wondered if two scoops might not be the actual order. Wheelchair-bound, Dad enjoyed the countryside view surrounding the store while daughter sidled up to the counter. We’ll have a scoop each of hazelnut and pistachio for my father. Well, to hear the story of eyes lighting up over a double-serving, you’d think this late-80’s gentleman had just become five all over again. How lovely!
What Are You Really Hearing?
Had this caregiver been less attentive, Dad would’ve been OK with one scoop. Yet, something subtle would have been missed in the exchange. Neither might have had the words, but an unspoken desire would have gone unfulfilled. Mind you, when one is the product of difficult aging parents, it is easy (and understandable) to think, who cares? I’m not here to be their servant, you silently say. You are heard. Believe me. Here’s another perspective.
Please Access Your Job Skills
What if the things you’ve learned during corporate communications training programs could save you a parental disaster you’d live to regret?
Especially for elders who are crafty, they will carefully (even if sub-consciously) edit out what they don’t want you to realize. That includes hiding vital health, financial or competency information they don’t want you to ask about. When you don’t heed these warnings, I guarantee you’ll be shocked at their state of affairs because you haven’t been paying attention.
So, how about you use that ice cream cone to listen for what is and is not being said?