So I spent last weekend with three male family members and it occurred to me that communication could have been better. Throughout my career, I’ve witnessed many well-meaning parents answering for their children, ordering their meals, finishing their sentences. It’s so important that a child learns to speak for themselves. That means that when a waitress looks at me and asks what my child would like to drink I kindly tell her to ask him. And yes, I say the same thing to my husband when he wants to know what our child would like. How would I know? Ask him.
In educational settings it’s important to offer many opportunities for students to speak up for themselves. Teachers call it wait time and we are pretty patient, but often other students speak up. All young people must be instructed in giving “wait time” to others so they may collect their thoughts, processing information at their own rate, and decide what they want to say. Easy? Nah. Important? Absolutely.
Next time you find yourself in the presence of a young person, please slow down and allow that child the opportunity to speak for themselves. It may seem like eons to you, but remember that it’s time well spent.