Thanksgiving Communication Illusion

The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.”[1] Think about all the ways that this quote has been true in your life, and consider the golden opportunity this Thanksgiving offers to truly communicate. Let’s begin by reflecting on some stellar miscommunications.

There are the conflict avoidance approaches to miscommunication: you raised your eyebrows in a furtive manner so she knew your displeasure about her choices. And, your conversation partner was so focused on her phone that she missed the eyebrow dance.

There are the passive aggressive communication curve balls: like when Uncle Bert did not come to Thanksgiving Dinner because he was so disturbed by something you posted on social media. But, everyone assumed it was because he was just old and cranky and did not want to deal with loud kids in the house.

Then, the explosive confrontational communication that offers more heat than light: I held my tongue until I couldn’t stand it any longer and then I erupted in a tirade to tell him exactly what I thought about every fault exhibited over the past week. And all he heard was a bunch of emotion, and knew that if we waited out the fury, it would all be over and he really did not need to change anything.

And one more miscommunication–there is simply saying nothing at all because we assume that everyone knows the thing.

Each of these examples offer glimpses of quasi-communication in which the illusion, especially in the eye of the speaker, is that the hearer has heard and understood the intent of our message. As we head into Thanksgiving during a very isolated season, we need to intentionally communicate like never before. We must initiate conversation rather than just assuming it will organically take place. We need to clearly communicate with care and compassion rather than falling into default patterns of miscommunication—especially since much of our communication will not be done face to face.

We have the opportunity to be a blessing this Thanksgiving through renewed, real conversation. Clearly, that means reaching out to the people in our lives and honestly sharing with them. The opportunity is also present to clearly talk with God. Rather than mentioning a passing ‘thank you for the stuff’, we have the opportunity to pause and reflect on our gratitude for Who God is. And prayerfully communicate that with Him.

As a Conference, this message about communication is especially true as well. We are committed to enhancing our communication and to being available to listen. Over the upcoming days, our communication will continue to focus on the theme of Healthy Leaders and Healthy Churches. Specifically, you will hear more about the Stephanie Sholtz Wellness Fund and effective ways that we can communicate to our pastors and church leaders that we care about them and are thankful for who they are. You can catch a previous blog here, and look forward to an upcoming video and then Facebook Live during this next week.

Restored for a Purpose,

Carl Greene, Executive Director, Seventh Day Baptist General Conference of USA and Canada


You can give to the Stephanie Sholtz Wellness Fund by clicking here.

[1] This insightful quote is attributed to the Irish writer George Bernard Shaw. While G.B.S. does not provide an astounding life model of faith for us to follow, his quote provides some very applicable lessons.

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