It’s Not Natural!


“It’s not natural…it doesn’t feel authentic.”

That’s the kind of remark I hear people say about PLEDGEtalk every once in awhile. And I agree…but only sort of. Here’s what I mean:

Most conversations whether they are superficial in nature, serious in content, or conflict driven, could be described as nothing more than volleying. In lighter talk, people people toss out an idea or describe an event, and someone else comes back with another idea or event in their life. Another thought is quickly thrown into the mix and then another. The game is on! Very similar dialogue takes place when in conflict, only much more intense and damaging.

In this sense, the principles of PLEDGEtalk are not “natural.” In conversations such as above, people rarely pause to think about what they are saying, much less listen to what someone else is saying. And if you are familiar with PLEDGEtalk at all, you know how important it is that we Pause and we Listen.

So I agree. It is not natural – on the one hand.

But on the other hand…I completely disagree.

PLEDGEtalk is very natural – to the appetite of our soul! Deep inside we know it satisfies.

Why do I say that?

Because PLEDGEtalk is the way we want others to communicate with us.

Stop and think a moment: would you rather someone just spew out of their mouth whatever they are thinking however they want regardless of the effect it might have? Or would you appreciate them giving some thought to what and how they communicate when it really matters? If you say the latter, then you know how good and right it is for us to Pause before we speak – even if it is but for a moment.

Think about your friends and family members. Are any of them good listeners? What’s it like for you when you have the opportunity to speak to them? If you are like me, you think: “This is so nice. And so rare.” When you speak, you want someone to listen – really listen – or you would never speak in the first place. You appreciate their time and focus. It feels wonderful. You know that Listening well is also good and right.

I could talk through each of the other steps of PLEDGEtalk in the same manner. It is helpful – at least at times – when someone echoes back to clarify what you say. It is satisfying when they validate your ideas before dishing out theirs. And conversations are much more rich when we give each other a turn to speak rather than interrupt and steal the conversation.

Yes – PLEDGEtalk principles are natural – to the appetite of the soul.

In the words of my son who wrote the Foreward to my book:

The PLEDGEtalk principles “…can be considered both menu and guide to a dinner table of conflict… Over time we manage to stop rushing through arguments and choking down confrontations. We remember that the PLEDGEtalk process itself occurs in courses (as some may want to read this book). And powered by healthy communication practices, we begin to once again find the joy in dining. We recognize that the hot dish provides nourishment to our souls. Here we become stronger versions of ourselves and are graced with the companionship of those we hold most dear.”

Well said Micah!

Take one more moment and remind yourself of what you would wish from others:

  • That they would Pause and think before they speak
  • That they would Listen to really understand you
  • That they would Echo back – at least at times, to be sure they heard you correctly
  • That they would Disarm conflict by validating what you said
  • That both would Give each other a turn to speak rather than interrupting
  • That both would Engage in these principles all the time – even when not in conflict.

The PLEDGEtalk principles are what you and I long for most when others communicate with us.

Here is your challenge: Now do unto others what you would have them do unto you!!

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