I have had the privilege of teaching the communication skills called “Effectiveness Training” developed by Dr. Thomas Gordon for 25 years. Dr. Gordon – a world renowned psychologist, realized that many of the problems that kids are having are related to the “lack of communication–positive communication–in the home”. He also realized that most people had little –or no– training in the most important role they would ever hold–that of being a parent.
With this clear understanding, Dr. Gordon developed a course called Parent Effectiveness Training, or P.E.T. As this course began to access notability and credibility, Dr. Gordon began teaching people throughout the country–and the world–how to teach effective communication skills to parents.
The director of the Mental Health Services of Southern Oklahoma, Dr. Charles Brown learned of this course and saw the benefit of the course to families in our area. Knowing my background in education and psychology, he asked if I would consider becoming an instructor so that the Mental Health Services could offer this course. He gave me the materials to read and study and asked that I review and evaluate the data before I responded to his request. I did just that. But, I can promise you that my affirmative answer came very quickly. The brilliance of Dr. Gordon and of his parenting course was so obvious that I couldn’t wait to become certified as an instructor and begin sharing this relevant data to parents.
Those communication skills became a foundation of our family and of our business as they were born and as they grew. I consider this commitment to communication foundational to the success of both.
Now, let me make a confession. I have taught these skills for over 20 years–to parents, teachers, leaders, healthcare professions, women’s organizations, and others. And yet. And still!!! No one needs to work harder on communication than I do.
When I mess up a relationship or a conversation with anyone, I can go back and analyze the situation and realize that I did not apply the very skills that I have taught for so long. There will never be a day when I do not need to study and restudy these vital communication principles and skills.
I am often surprised that people think that just because they have gone through a course of these skills once that they “have it”—or they say something like, “Oh, we don’t need to go over those communication skills again—we did that once”. People actually believe that they can learn these intricate skills from going to a course—once. NOPE!! Doesn’t work that way.
Most of us have had such terrible role models of communication that we have learned what “NOT” to do. We shy away from confrontation because we mess things up—because we have never learned how to do things right.
The more I learn about communication, the more I realize how little I know. It is a lifetime study—and a worthwhile one—because, after all, what is more important than relationships?
Study and Practice Excellent communication skills for yourself—and include your children in that study. Build a home based on healthy communication skills that build relationships in the present moment—and forever.
Gordon, Thomas. PET, Parent Effectiveness Training.
Jameson, Cathy. Great Communication Equals Great Production