Face It – It’s Not Just the Millennials
I watched an interview yesterday in which Simon Sinek described millennials. If you aren’t familiar with Sinek, Google him and watch a couple of his videos; you will be glad you did. He goes deep into leadership and will prompt some critical thinking about how and why people make decisions.
In Sinek’s description of millennials, he says one of the common denominators about this generation is impatience. Hmmmmm, very interesting. When I help people deal with conflict, I’m constantly encouraging people to be persistent. Patience and persistence are closely related, right? Is there a generation who doesn’t need more patience or persistent? I don’t think so. I find across the board, among all generations, a crippling lack of persistence when it comes to dealing with each other during conflict. We have to face it, it’s not just the millennials who have trouble being patient and persistent. The millennials learned it from us!
Granted, we live in a drive-through world and we like our fries. But when it comes to our hunger for deep, fulfilling relationships, drive-through fries aren’t going to satisfy us. We need more; and that simply takes persistence and patience, characteristics mastered by some individuals, but no generation. Shocker! Patience and persistence make all the difference. Patience and persistence mean that we refuse to give up on the relationship.
As your personal communication evangelist, my encouragement to you today is to try a little harder. The really good news is that it doesn’t take as much effort or skill as you think, but it does take more persistence than is fair. You have to take the lead. I can guarantee you that if you are reading this article, you are leagues ahead in ability to handle a conflict. Sad, but true. People are paralyzed by fear, and you have to lead because they will simply back out and then all is lost. As long as you are persistent, there is a chance to preserve the relationship.
Patience and persistence mean that you keep calling when someone won’t return your calls because you want them to hear the care and concern in your voice.
Patience and persistence mean that you don’t avoid your worst critic at the fellowship meal or purposely sit on the opposite side of the building.
Patience and persistence mean that you look for tiny ways to build a foundation, even if you start with a fake smile and small talk.
Patience and persistence mean that you don’t deal with conflict with a text message or blocking people on Facebook.
Patience and persistence mean that you pray for opportunities for healing to take place and for the humility to take the first step.
Patience and persistence mean that you keep listening when you think you already understand.
Patience and persistence mean that you look at conflict as a natural part of being in relationship with each other and are willing to grapple with it. If you won’t, your children will have no idea how, and Simon Sinek will be talking about them.
Patience and persistence create opportunities for deep relationships to grow. With 28 years under our marriage belt, my husband and I have had our share of conflict and have been wide open about how we’ve handled that. We’ve shared stories the time I shoved pie in my husband’s face, our award-winning screaming match in the car, and many other conflicts ranging from the ridiculous to the critically serious. We say, “This is what marriage looks like 28 years in. Any marriage that is successful has these stories to tell.”
We are successful because we have been through these conflicts, not because of their absence. I leave you with Moses and a prayer for you to have his humility and courage despite his doubts and fears.
Moses said to the Lord, “Pardon your servant, Lord. I have never been eloquent, neither in the past nor since you have spoken to your servant. I am slow of speech and tongue.”
The Lord said to him, “Who gave human beings their mouths? Who makes them deaf or mute? Who gives them sight or makes them blind? Is it not I, the Lord? Now go; I will help you speak and will teach you what to say.”
But Moses said, “Pardon your servant, Lord. Please send someone else.”
Then the Lord’s anger burned against Moses and he said, “What about your brother, Aaron the Levite? I know he can speak well. He is already on his way to meet you, and he will be glad to see you. You shall speak to him and put words in his mouth; I will help both of you speak and will teach you what to do. He will speak to the people for you, and it will be as if he were your mouth and as if you were God to him.
Seriously, what is our excuse? Despite our fears, we have no Egyptian army chasing us, and God is still just as much on our side. Say it with me, “Patience and persistence, patience and persistence, patience and persistence.” It’s not fair; it’s just the only thing that works.