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Language Barriers

Language Barrier
Does it feel like you and the rest of your family live on completely different planets?


It seems that every generation has a “language barrier” with others.  Earlier this week, I was standing in line at a department store and I heard an elderly man voice his frustration to the clerk that he couldn’t understand why his teenage grand-kids wouldn’t call him.  He said that they asked him to get a smart phone so that they could text him and send him pictures – but with that he gave out a big HUFF!  He said, and I quote, “I’m not getting a dumb smart phone, those kids can pick up the phone and call me if they want to talk.”

Well, the thing is, they won’t.



Grandpa is losing out on having a good relationship with his grand-kids because there is a huge language barrier.  I felt sad for him because by refusing to use a smart phone (their language – something they understood and enjoyed), he loses out on having a close relationship with them, and will miss out on what they doing, what they are interested in, what friends they have, how they are feeling, and won’t be a part of a very important time when his wisdom and experience would be very valuable.


What are other examples of how we refuse to learn someone else’s “language”?

Would never cooking your husband’s favorite dish be refusing to speak his language because you think meatloaf is gross? I hate meatloaf, but I make it every couple of years just for him.

Would refusing to go to your wife’s softball game because you think the game is boring and that men are better at it be refusing to speak her language?

Or how about at bedtime – telling your normally quiet, but now chatty teen, that you’re tired and you can talk tomorrow, even though they seem ready to open up right then?

Could learning someone’s personal language be as simple as trying new things and doing things you don’t really care for – just because someone else does, and you want them to know that you’re willing to try what they love? I’m so grateful that my husband enjoys watching chick-flicks – but to speak his language, I may need to start watching superhero shows with him more often.


When I turned 15, my very loving – but workaholic dad – came to the realization that I was growing up and would soon fly off to college.  My mom told him that if he didn’t make a concerted effort to connect with me, that he would probably lose the opportunity to have a relationship with his daughter.  So what did Daddy do?  He leaned in close and discovered that I really liked to buy shoes (what girl doesn’t?) and asked me if I’d like to go shoe shopping with him?  I WAS FLOORED, and felt so special!  Daddy took a whole day off of work and drove me to town (100 miles away) to go shoe shopping, at SEVERAL stores.  We had so much fun together and still talk about that day today.

That day, my Daddy learned to speak my language…and guess what?  He still speaks it today.

YOU are SO Loved!

The River

Author The River

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