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Communication lessons from teenagers

I have been helping out at the local cubs and scouts recently and have again had to stop and think about how I judge people based on my values and beliefs.

For those of you who know me, it won't come as any surprise when I tell you I was highly suspicious and weary of the scouts aged 13-15 years old.

This wasn't helped by the first impressions from them. Loud, running round the school, interrupting and giving back chat.

To say my pre judged heckles were up is probably an understatement :-).

Our conversations were pretty blunt, mainly from me, "what are you doing in here?", to which I was either given a smart alex answer or "don't know".

I walked round the school herding and shepherding and generally making assumptions about what they were up to and why.

The next day I reflected on my behaviour and thought process and how it had completely affected my communication and definitely any relationship we might have had.

This week I have approached the whole event differently. We spent the evening in the woods, making camp fires and shelters. I left some of my values behind, which, if you have ever done yourself, you will know this is pretty difficult.

At the end of the evening there were 6 scouts and a couple of leaders left around the campfire. As we were toasting marshmallows and bread the boy, sat next to me, started to talk about what he was doing at the weekend. Turns out he races karts with his dad almost every weekend.

Picking up on his motivators, I listened, no pre judgement, no adding meaning from my beliefs and just being with him in his clear excitement and enjoyment of the weekend ahead.

As he left he turned and said goodbye and I genuinely felt we had taken our first steps towards knowing and understanding each other better.

It is so easy to let our beliefs and experiences interfere with

our thoughts, behaviours and communication and when this happens, it transfers over in all we do.

A reminder for me to be more conscious and self aware. We are all individuals and we all have a story.

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