Sunday, June 16, 2013

Keep Talkin' Happy Talk

I like to talk. 

If you know me, you've probably figured this out.

If you don't know me and read my blog, I assume you have also figured this out.

Sometimes being chatty can be helpful. I think it is easy for people to get to know me (even if I don't get to know them). I am often open and outgoing. I know other talkative people who I find quite endearing and entertaining. I hope that this is sometimes the case with me.

Unfortunately, this isn't always a good thing. Talking is an easy way to get myself in trouble! Along with my hobby of talking comes such habits (or even talents) like the overshare, interruptions, poor listening skills, self centered-ness, poor judgement and lack of discipline, and conversation piracy. "Aye me matey, this be my conversation now. Argh!"

It isn't uncommon for me to leave a party kicking myself for dominating a conversation. It is almost every week at church I have to de-brief with Abe. "What did you say THIS week?" With my guilty confessions of having one (or two, three, four) things too many to say in our lesson. And I am all too free to share my problems or frustrations with just about any one. I'm sure some of you are laughing because you know when you ask me the trite phrase, "How are you doing?" You'll often get way more than the "Fine, thank you" you were bargaining for. And I tend to trust that others will be on my side and wont use what I share (ever so easily with them) against me.

Sometimes I wish I were more of the quiet, stoic type. Abraham and most of his family are this way. They come across as cool and collected. Maybe even mysterious. They rarely have to account for their words, spreading them around carelessly or leaving them to be picked up by the wrong people. They are great conversationalists and rarely put themselves in situations where they have to feel bad for what they have said.

I have some things to learn from my more quiet friends and family and hope to be able to master my tongue. With all of the embarrassment, guilt, and frustration that I tend to bring on myself in conversation, I felt some relief when Abe read me a part of the book, How Will You Measure Your Life? by Clayton Christiansen. He states that 
Being chatty, thinking aloud, and commenting on what the child is doing and what the parent is doing or planning to do.
Oh boy, do I do this (with adults even!).

He also says, 
In short, when a parent engages in extra talk, many many more of the synaptic pathways in the child's brain are exercised and refined.
And my favorite part, 
That means children who have been exposed to extra talk have an almost incalculable cognitive advantage." 

I don't think I will be ever able to change my chatty nature but I hope to have more discipline in the future in what I say. I also apologize if any of my (many many) words have hurt you in any way. 

Until I get better, to keep myself out of trouble I guess I need to just have some kids to talk to (and grow their brains) instead!


Mom said...

I too am hoping for kids to help you grow their brains,(wink wink from grandma) as you probably got your gift of gab from me. I think I do much better at listening now but it is always something I have to concentrate on lest I slip back into, dominate the conversation mode.

Abraham said...

The quotations at the end of this great post are in reference to research indicating how important experiences of early life are to the development of intellectual capacity. Specifically, it references a study on the effects of how parents talk to a child during the first 30 months of like and intellectual development.

"Average" parents speak ~1500 words per hour to their infant children; "less verbal" parents spoke only ~600 words per hour; "talkative" parents spoke ~2100 words per hour. Being raised by "talkative" parents correlated with improved performance on vocabulary and reading comprehension tests as the children got older (makes sense when you realized that talkative-raised kids have heard ~35 million more words by the time they are 30 months old than the child raised in a less verbal environment).

The research also suggested that the first year of life was the most important time. It was observed that when parents engaged in face-to-face conversation, speaking in fully adult, sophisticated, conversational language with a child the impact on cognitive development was enormous.

Interesting stuff. I'm grateful I have a wife who will make it so my children will continue the line of multiple generations of Sheffield kids who have been raised by talkative moms!

Diana said...

Erin, I love your talkative nature. I have the same nature and can completely relate to what you have written. Miss you, my gabby friend!

Joe'n'Jess said...

Erin, I can totally relate! I try so hard to be more careful with my words, because I have no problem over sharing the details of my life with people. When I don't restrain myself I end up picking apart my whole conversation, and convincing myself that whomever I just talked to now thinks I'm a moron. I have to remind myself that I can only control myself, and not someone else's perceptions. I know my intentions are to be kind, fun, and inclusive. If someone chooses to believe I'm rude, hurtful, offensive, etc then that is their own path, and it doesn't have to slow me down.

Abby said...

Well now you know why all the Sheffield kids are so brilliant! (Ha--my mom, the talker of the fam;)) I always enjoy talking to you! And those quotes are interesting too, because even though I'm not a "talker" in every situation, I always find myself feeling like I'm over-talking and over-explaining and even just meaninglessly chattering to Coop, but maybe parents naturally do that to young kids because it's actually good for them. Kind of cool.