Recently I was driving to have a heart-to-heart chat with my brother. I started singing a song I had heard 37 years ago. The song, “Talk To One Another.” was written and recorded by Brown Bannister. I’m pretty sure he only produced one album. While I couldn’t remember all of the words, I knew most of them and remember the truth in the message:
“We’ve got the brother to the brother,
We’ve got the husband to his wife
We’ve got a universal problem
Can you see it in your life?
Talk about the weather
And you talk about the day
But do you ever really say
The things you need to say?” ~ Brown Bannister 1981 (Newpax)
Wendy likes to remind people to “be real.” She would much rather hear people’s truths than the daily politeness of merely talking about our pets, aches, and pains, or the high cost of gasoline. She also delivers on being real on her end.
I have to agree. What I’ve found by following her guidelines for “being real” in conversations, is that the discussions are much richer. We can learn a lot more about the other by simply moving quickly past the score of last nights game and getting into how their children are doing and how someone is feeling given resent circumstances, good or bad. Or even “there’s something I’ve been wanting to talk to you about…”
When I was supervising people I always knew one of the best ways to build and maintain trust was to be sure people knew where they stood with me. To talk openly to them about their skills and the things they need to work harder at. If they did something wrong or needed correction and I didn’t take the time to talk about it with them, how could they trust me to help them run the business? Of course, I did the same with their great work too.
When I was a boy, I would sit at the kitchen table and listen to my dad talk about things that bothered him. “We need a new furnace in the fall, but I don’t know how we can afford it, Steve.” “I don’t know why your coach has you at pitcher. You should stay at first base, like Norm Cash.” Dad would often be drinking a glass of tea with a “special mixture” only met for grown-ups. The great thing was, he was talking. Not about the weather, but about what was on his mind.
The key to Bannister’s song is “how” we say what we need to say. I’d like to think I’m diplomatic. I can be sensitive to a person’s situation, listen carefully, not take sides and work to find the resolution. Bannister said it like this: “But when we talk to one another, just like the Father above, we’ve got to learn to say it in love.” When we know the truth will hurt, we should use compassion and love when we’re having that talk. You’ll always win if you’re truly saying it out of love.
Our families need to practice talking about “matters.” We need to say “I love you” and we need to be able to say “I’m hurt.” When we do, we find progress in relationships, usually. We find that trust is built, life is better, usually. Sometimes the truth doesn’t work out the way we want, but the truth works out the way God wants. So be prepared for both. And don’t start yelling at God because you spoke the truth and it leads you to be in some sort of pain. Yep, that happens. Just keep moving ahead. And keep talking. It’s good for you and me.
I want to encourage you to have a specific talk – one you won’t regret. The talk with your family and mom and dad about death. The one I wrote about in April of this year.
What do you need to talk about? Something you need to say? Listen to Brown Bannister’s song from 1981 and take his advice.
The talk with my brother went “okay.” We have a long way to go, but it was a start.
“Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.” Eph 4:29
“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another.” ~ John 13:34.