I had a day with my kids the other day that was, well, shall we say, less than stellar. There was an air of teasing and picking on each other and not listening to anyone and some pretty incredible snarkiness in just about every direction.  By evening I had blown my top. They had blown theirs and we were all pretty spent.

Once all had cooled a bit, myself included, I called for a meet up in the back yard. We were going to try out some timed talking to bury the ugliness of this day once and for all.

We sat in a circle and with the phone’s timer set for 5 minutes we began. The only rules being that when someone was talking there were to be no interruptions at all. The talker was to talk. And the listeners were to listen.

I started, not for any hierarchy but because nobody else really wanted to go first. For five minutes I talked about what I thought were the infractions I witnessed and felt and made. I talked about how I felt during and after and what we could have done differently. And I talked about what I hoped for in the future – future being from that point on. Until, ding! Time’s up. And around we went, each one of us, talking for our allotted 5 minutes.

There were long moments of silence. There was a little bit of blaming. There were some things stated that others didn’t agree with. But with timed talking, there was space for it all. There were no retorts or disagreements or arguments about anything that was said or felt or observed.

And by the end we were all feeling pretty good. And feeling too like the issues had been resolved.

We all felt truly  heard. And we all had been able to listen as well.

I love timed talking! As my kids age I can see how it’s going to really serve us as a valuable tool. It frees the speaker to speak without fear of interruption. And it frees the listener too. To really and truly listen without coming up with our own response or spinning into rejection of the words being said.

The timed talking let the storm pass so we could move on into a beautiful new next.

photo by Lucy Noll Anderson