Speaking a foreign domestic language


I remember explaining a job to an employee and releasing them to perform the duty.  They returned to me the next day with pride all over his face because he completed the task as he understood it. Even 1 day earlier than the assigned time.


I joined him in the review of the task, to paint the wall we were in front of.

Oh, my goodness.  He painted the wrong wall.  How is this possible.


In frustration I asked him why he painted the wall on the other side of the room when I believed I was very clear when I said, “PAINT THE WALL WE WERE IN FRONT OF”.


He was standing in the same place as when I assigned the task.  I asked again, “How you could paint that wall when I asked this wall”.


He clearly pointed at the wall in front of him. As originally stanced, he was facing the wall across the room.  What I didn’t realize is he was facing me, which put him in front of the opposite wall.


[Who was wrong]

I believe we where both correct however I should have realized I was speaking about the wall in front of me when I communicated the task.

We can apply this type of miscommunication throughout our life.

It gets worse. You can list hundreds of meanings for words that are totally misunderstood.


I was on a sky dive adventure with a Chap from Brazil.  His American based sister wished him well and told him in a message to me to “Break a leg”.  On the way to the jump zone the broken English-speaking jumper asked me why on earth his American based sister would invite us to break a leg.


How many times has someone told you, “that is not what I meant”?  Often, we respond, you didn’t listen to me!  Imagine not realizing you speak a different language than one of your children.  We may go through their entire child and adolescent life speaking broken English.  The result is a broken domestication. We blame them and it is not until we are old that we realize it was us that broke the mold meant to be perfect.


I could go on and on with examples that have caused death, divorce and psychological stains on someone’s brain forever.


Stop, breath and be clear.  Ask the one you love what they just heard from you.


Remember, it could be me that speaks a foreign English to them.


By the way, I’m the one who was wrong.


JUST AN OLD MAN TALKING January 31, 2020