Lost in Translation




I often joke with people that I’m bilingual. My definition goes like this-

“I translate husband to wife and teenager to parent.” I usually get a chuckle, but the truth is, good communication is very difficult to achieve.

One of the main barriers to good communication is a lack of understanding. The person you are trying to connect with comes from traditions and circumstances different than your own. For instance, when a newly married couple celebrates important events, family of origin expectations take front and center. For example-“You open Christmas gifts on Christmas Eve? How sacrilegious! Everyone knows you open gifts on Christmas morning.”

In this instance, we see a holiday event so set in stone that to celebrate differently is viewed as an attack on both tradition and faith.

When it comes to teens, a cultural barrier of 20-30 years means that events are interpreted in another context. For example- “You want purple hair? What are you a clown?”

In this instance an event is interpreted from previous decades, and applied to current day norms. Ironically, the same measure could have been applied to the adult when they were a teen, sporting excessive jewelry and leather pants.

More often than not, people find themselves on “different pages.’ Just say the word “parenting” and you’ll get a dozen different methods of how that’s done.

Good communication means validating these precious memories while simultaneously building upon new traditions and experiences.

Pete Thompson Christian Counseling



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