Category Archives: Solomon

Communication breakdown

Another day
Photo by: Marshall Astor

Do you get up each day wondering how you will make it through another day of repeating the same steps you repeated the day before?

Did you drop into bed the night before wondering why something just doesn’t seem to be “clicking into place” or that certain moment isn’t happening in your life?

Your “moment” may be different from someone else’s and what may seem repetitive to you may not to someone else but what is lacking more and more in society today is genuine interaction, conversation, listening, being heard and that feedback from someone on a level that is not only listening but being heard and really being tuned into to what is being said.

Genuine interaction with friends
Photo by: Philm

No, this is not an ad for Match.com but our society is changing everyday and with those changes come many benefits but also struggles if there isn’t the ability to adapt. However, is there always a way to adapt an entire society to an ongoing cycle of change?

Let’s look at one part, communication.

How many ways could one communicate 40 years ago?

Write a letter, make a phone call, telegram, or face to face pretty much.

"Old fashion" ways of staying in touch still do exist....
Photo by Muffet

Many people knew people in their neighborhoods, communities, schools, families and kept more in touch with the people around them on a more personal level.

Today, we have grown in the ability to have a much larger number of ways to stay in contact, at anytime, with nearly anyone, all over the world, even meet complete strangers.

We have the Internet which has given us numerous social medias like FaceBook, Twitter, Tagged, messaging, email, live chat, Skype, multiple online dating services, and countless ways which I am not intentionally leaving out. The fact is, the ability to communicate via the Internet is huge!

We have cellphones which allow us the ability to receive and make calls from anywhere and to anywhere which, even if it may seem rude, could mean a quiet movie theater, the bathroom, or in the middle of “nowhere” (can you hear me now?).

Contact ability goes everywhere we go....
Photo by: Anthony Quintano

Plus, with cell phones, there is texting…lots of texting! I’m not so sure if that counts as “communicating” but there are words being exchanged…so I am including it here.

It almost seems old fashion to mention the fact someone can send a Fax but it is a way to communicate….

So, here comes another point. It seems today there is less actual communication. There is far less listening and the ability to communicate and reason a point seems to be going down the drain.

Relationships are being built on the Internet, carried out through texting, and more of what was once built face to face is lost. That emotional connection, expression is becoming more of a lost part in our society.

Again, I’m not just talking about dating relationships. I mean real relationships with friends, family, people with similar experiences.

How well do you really know those you are “in touch” with?

How well do you know your neighbors, schoolmates, coworkers, distant family? Do you just keep up with their FaceBook, Blog or text here and there? Do you ask them questions?

Most of us have become very accustomed to today’s way of life. It’s easier and more suited to our busy schedules.

Our kids have the same way of life. Seriously, we text each other in the house (I have!)

But, we can’t let go of the need to sit down face to face and communicate, really let things go for a while. Ask people how they are doing and about their goals or what they are facing.

Discuss issues at work or social events
Photo by: Gelatobaby

People right next door or at our job may be facing hunger, a death in the family, domestic violence, loss of their home, divorce or a crisis but without asking or showing concern, the day may pass by, a week or a month and just the same, “I’m fine” until one day, they just aren’t at work.

In our country, we are facing some of the toughest times ever. This is not the time to say, “It’ll pass,” and just leave everything up to our leaders in Washington.

These problems started a long time ago. It is not a party problem or a political problem. This is a communication problem.

As many of us have lost close contact with those in our workplaces, schools, communities and even our own families and may not be listening to what is always being said, these leaders aren’t listening either. How can they be making sound and solid decisions without hearing what their constituents, the voters are really calling for, asking for and needing? This is causing consequences for everyone and needs to be understood and addressed. Each person taking responsibility for their own actions and what they have been given the opportunity and trust to uphold.

Here’s an example. As an adult, you have a choice of whether to go to work or not. You can choose to never go. There will most likely be very strong consequences for you choosing not to go and they will probably go into effect pretty quickly.

However, when an elected official in Washington has a job to get done and keeps procrastinating and all of America is on pins and needles, it is okay for them to put it on hold, bicker back and forth like babies and continuously act as though they can’t decide on whether it is more appropriate to help keep funding for those who need it or those who can afford to give up some breaks?

Either way, no matter what, their job isn’t on the line, their pay isn’t on the line, the health care isn’t on the line and their homes aren’t up for foreclosure.

Do they talk face to face to the people who are going through these things or do they just go by reports being fed to them by those working for them? Have they lost the ability to listen or be genuinely immersed in a conversation and have that desire to do something that matters or is it just more important to win?

Washington shouldn’t be about winning. It was supposed to be about representing but you can’t do that if you can’t listen to those you represent.

Instead of just using the phrase, “What the American people want,” maybe it would be to everyone’s benefit to find that out again by actually learning to communicate the old fashion way.

Talks, talks and more talks but who are the discussions about and who are they listening to? How long is this acceptable?

TAX DAY 2002

Has there ever been a moment when it seemed everything around you was going in fast motion and your world suddenly slowed down to slow motion, sound started to echo and you felt like possibly your head could rupture at any moment? Well, that was this day for me 8 years ago. Most people refer to April 15th as Tax Day. But, to me, it is the day my, then 2 year old was diagnosed with cancer. My world stopped. Well, my world as I knew it then. Everything changed and has never gone back to the way it was before that day.

Today though, she is 10 years old. She is one of the lucky ones. That word lucky is used so many different ways. Some people are lucky because they win a lot of money or they didn’t get caught doing something they shouldn’t have done. I guess either way, “lucky” would be a word that could fit in both cases. Other people use the word “lucky” when they get home and find out their house was destroyed by fire and they weren’t home at the time or their car was nearly hit by a train by mere seconds… (that is much more than luck!)

In today’s world, many people consider themselves lucky to still have their job or to find a new job and yes, they are lucky and grateful and blessed. There is always the opposite of lucky which I guess would be unlucky but I don’t like to just say someone is unlucky because things don’t just play out due to luck. There are a lot of things that are unfortunate and we see that more and more.

But, today I am going to focus on what started 8 years ago.

The world, our world at least, came crashing down! We weren’t thinking about taxes, what I was going to make for dinner, what was going to happen at school the next day…. Heck, I don’t think I even gave thought to if I picked up my purse before we headed from one hospital to the next. Really, everything just stopped for a while. I didn’t feel like someone hit me with a bunch of bad news or anything because for our youngest daughter, things had been going downhill for a few months. She had been going from one doctor to the next for a while. You want answers to why things are going wrong but you never want the answer to be CANCER! Not that answer! You can have that back and give me another answer, thank you.

I remember though my first instinct was to not act upset in front of my daughter, Katia (she was the one that was just diagnosed). She was just a 2 year old little girl that had already seen too many doctors, been through too many procedures and had just spent too much time feeling bad lately. I knew enough about what I was hearing to know a few things right off the bat.

1. Cancer is not always a death sentence.

2. This was going to mean a lot of explaining to her sisters (then ages 7 and 11)

3. Katia was going to get much more sick before she had a chance to get better.

4. We were going to have to face this with a very positive attitude.

All of that was just buzzing in my head and we were put into an ambulance to head across the Bay Area to another hospital that a Pediatric Oncology Unit. This would end up being home away from home for us over the coming years. Pediatric Oncology Specialist, Nurses, Staff are amazing people!

On the way over, Katia was just sleepy and not feeling well but the ambulance had a lot of things kind of bouncing around and it would scare her at times and other time amuse her. I was watching the traffic outside and thinking how I had crossed over the same bridge so many times and never thought about how many people’s lives had possibly changed just as ours were at the moment. People just don’t think about that. I was thinking about the fact I had never imagined one of my kids would be one of those little children fighting cancer. People don’t think about that either. I was trying to imagine what would happen next and I couldn’t. I am a planner. I don’t like not knowing what is coming up next and my whole world now was all about not knowing what was next. I didn’t know anything about tomorrow. I didn’t know anything it seemed! How could my baby have cancer in her and I have never known? I knew everything about her.

When we were wheeled up to the Oncology Unit, different patients and parents were watching us and we were looking around while also being talked to and shown to a room. A lot happened on that day. But, I will never forget that day. We were the “New Family” on the Pediatric Oncology Unit. Over the years, we have seen that many times when new families come up and you never ever want to see that happen. I wish we had been the last ones to enter as new patients.

We went over a lot of paperwork that day. Katia had a lot of blood work done and more set up for the next day. We had a lot of visitors between family and friends. Everyone was just shocked when they heard she had been diagnosed with cancer. She had been diagnosed with Acute Myelogenous leukemia. She was very sick and had a long fight with very intense treatments ahead of her. She has not had an easy road, nor a predictable road since that time but the fact is her road is a continuing road.

Katia’s journey has been full of blessings and we have been so fortunate to have met many wonderful people along the way and that we are able to work with still. She has amazing doctors and receives at All Children’s in St. Pete where they have always gone above and beyond to give the best of care and stayed ahead of Katia’s care. Is Katia lucky?? By all means! Katia loves ladybugs and ladybugs are said to bring a person luck so I suppose she is surrounded by luck. Katia has also had a life full of miracles.

So, on Tax Day 2010 I can’t help but to always think how much our life CHANGED on Tax Day 2002 and continues to change each day.

“The great use of life is to spend it on something that will outlast it.” James Truslow Adams

To learn more about Katia and her day to day journey, visit http://www.ladybugkatia.com/