Wednesday, September 10, 2014

In A Big Family, Communication Is Very Important

Letting people know they are too close to the edge would be a good form of communication.

In a large family, having open lines of communication are very important. For example, say you were on a road trip across the country and made a quick pit stop off of I-80 in Nebraska. It would be very important to have open lines of communication between the passengers and the driver when one of the passengers noticed a brother or sister running out of the restroom and sprinting to catch up as the van headed back out to the endless cornfields freeway. In this case, it would be very important to say something. You know, like let the driver know there's a child left behind. Or maybe something like this: "DAD! STOP THE VAN! WE FORGOT _________ (enter the name of any of 10 children you might have accidentally left behind)!

On any given day in the Sabo house, there might be three dentist appointments, two separate soccer practices, picking someone up from school and dropping that someone off at work, then later picking that person up from work, a shopping trip in order to feed a small army our family, a night Bible study and an emergency late-night run to the store for ice cream. To achieve maximum efficiency in the Sabo house on days like this it requires the ultimate in communication. Husbands, read closely here because what I'm about to say may revolutionize your marriage: The key to communicating with my wife is that I need to "talk" to her. Yes, actual conversation that goes beyond grunts and "yes" or "no" or other primitive forms of male communication. I have discovered that it's often good to "talk" to my wife in the morning to achieve the previously mentioned maximum efficiency. Alas, sometimes I fall short. I still believe Julie has the ability to read my mind and it's not uncommon to get a phone call from her asking what I'm doing. That's usually a good sign that I should be doing something else, which typically involves a matter of importance in the Sabo household. And apparently I believe Julie is not the only person who should be able to read my mind.

On Sunday afternoon I left for Charlotte, N.C., to spend a week long retreat with my co-workers in the Transformational Education Network. I was dropping off Ethan in Richmond on the way so he could pick up his car and head back to Hampden-Sydney College in Farmville, Va. Monday morning got off to a great start with my colleagues until I got a text from one of my kids. Here is the text I got from my 17-year-old daughter Evie: "So mom just told me you went to North Carolina for a week ... I just thought you had decided to stay a night at Farmville when you dropped off Ethan. I asked mom when you'd be back today and she said, 'Oh...about a week.' "

Although I love to communicate with my children by texting, sometimes even when they are in the next room, that was not a text I enjoyed receiving. In fact, I was horrified. I should have my `Dad' card pulled. How did one of my kids not know I was going to be gone for a whole week? I extended my profuse apologies to Evie and am still kicking myself. When I get home I'm going to ground myself. After I make it up to her somehow. Like sharing my calendar with her on Google+ maybe? Would that qualify as good communication?

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