Meaning just hits you broadside sometimes

Kitchen

It’s funny how things can just hit you right out of the blue.

My wife and I were driving in town recently, when a pick up truck going the other way went by. In the back was one of those small plastic kitchens, typically aimed at five-year-old girls. You wouldn’t think something like that would have the power to induced tears, but it did. Continue reading “Meaning just hits you broadside sometimes”

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Behold the power of story

Chinese baby

Just for clarity: I have never been a Chinese woman. Except for a few minutes this morning.

Just 15 minutes ago or so, I was listening to NPR on the radio as I was driving in to work. They were interviewing Jenna Cook about her search for her birth mother. Like most of you, I have been aware for a long time that international adoptions are not uncommon, and even that the situations that lead to such adoption are quite complex. But I had never been touched by those complexities. Continue reading “Behold the power of story”

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Stories: the low-tech mind meld

robinson

If you think about your own experience, I think you can see how a good story deserves the metaphorical label of “mind meld.” I remember being enthralled as I listened to Appalachian storytellers at the Museum of Appalachia’s Fall Homecoming, as I read my first novel that a teacher didn’t assign (it was Have Space Suit – Will Travel by Robert A. Heinlein), and as I watched 2001: A Space Odyssey. You know that power on the receiving end, and (I hope) have experienced it on the other end.

Continue reading “Stories: the low-tech mind meld”

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Empathy and Easter: The power of story

mater-dolorosaThis is not a religious blog, and that’s not about to change. But religion and spirituality are a big part of life, even for those not conventionally religious, and it is certainly an area where communication skills matter on a lot of levels. What I have in mind here, though, has bearing on any communicator, religious or not.

As I write this, it is Saturday before Easter. Because of the events commemorated around this time of the year, a lot of attention falls on Good Friday, and of course tremendous attention on Easter Sunday. (Yes, I know about all the interrelationship of Easter bunnies and pagan celebrations. It’s beside the point for this post.) Some groups have traditions around Holy Saturday as well, the day Jesus “rested” in the tomb, and also the time of the Harrowing of Hades. It is also sometimes called Black Saturday, a day of mourning.

For some reason, it has really struck me this year because of those first mourners. Obviously, Jesus suffered the most, but those who loved Him on earth suffered also. Friday was the worst; Sunday, everything changed. But Saturday? Saturday was the Sabbath, supposed to be a day of rest. How restful could it have been for the apostles? For His friends? For His mother? Continue reading “Empathy and Easter: The power of story”

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It’s all about connection

spock_kirk_small

My students constantly hear: people don’t make decisions based on logic. They make decisions based on emotion; they justify decisions based on logic.

That means that you must have both, of course. I do not mean to devalue logical appeals in persuasive speeches. But if you want people to act, you must appeal on an emotional level as well. Continue reading “It’s all about connection”

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