Communication

Within the word communication you can find “common” and “union”. Good communicators are able to find a “common union” or “common ground” as they interact with people. Good marriages are made of two people who seek to find the common ground; they communicate well. Good friendships are made of two people who have at least one thing in common. Relationships within families are improved when the members find something in common.

An anecdote about finding a common ground…

When we were growing up as cousins every New Years eve we would get together and celebrate. There were the families of the four siblings on my mom’s side, plus my grandparents. All together there were about 20 younglings running around what with all the cousins, foster kids, friends and whoever else happened to be around at the time. We had grand times together! One of the things that we did was played “White Elephant Bingo”. A white elephant is a curious, unwanted item. Each person brought their item to the game all wrapped up. We all played Bingo, adults and children alike. After calling out, “Bingo!” the winner then had to pick one White Elephant to open. As the game progressed each successive winner had the choice of opening a new gift or stealing a gift that had already been opened. The victim of the robbery then had to open an unopened gift. Play continued until all the gifts were opened – and not one round more. After the last gift was revealed you were stuck with what you had in front of you.

Many a laugh was had as we saw the unveiling of the items. Some of the high-light items were: toilet paper printed like money and a hideously gaudy lamp clock combination. But there was one White Elephant that was revered above all. It was a rotating item, meaning that it came back every year. And the honored bearer of this gift wrapped it in such a way as to disguise its existence. Oh the squeals of glee when the gift was finally discovered! Every win after it was unwrapped was followed by the gusty familiar phrase, “Hand it over!” Everyone knew that a robbery was taking place.

The best part of the whole night was when the final winner of the prize had the honor to use it at the strike of mid night. It was a big, red, electric fog horn! All the rest of us losers would scour the cabinets of the kitchen for pots and pans and wooden spoons to bang. Then the whole lot of us would head outside to bring in the frosty mid-west New Year with bangs and hollers and a noisy fog horn. That was the best!

The evening wound down with adults talking and munching on left-overs while the little ones found a corner and a blanket to curl up in for a few hours.

Those were good times… very good times.

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