Communication Lessons and the Lamb Cake

by Betty Lochner on April 25, 2011

It was a great Easter weekend.  It met the great family weekend formula – Kids home. Time to spend together. Baking. Easter services together. Check!

And, with all great family weekends, we learned a little something about communication!

Here are the top three communication lessons we learned:

1)  Always check for understanding

This little lesson had Jaron and I driving up to Seattle Saturday morning to retrieve his French Horn that he needed for church (130 miles round trip).  Seems he thought his girlfriend packed it and she thought he had it under control.

The lesson learned: always check to make sure your expectations are understood.

The silver lining: an unexpected 3 hours of uninterrupted conversation with my son.

2) Don’t make assumptions

Or you could say don’t trust cute dogs. Ever.

Making an assumption that my kid’s dog understands that the Lamb Cake carefully baked and left on the dining table is off limits, was a bad one to make.

You see, Jaron’s girlfriend used her grandmother’s recipe to make the beautiful lamb cake shown here (before the slaughter).  This is the kind of recipe that includes sifting, egg separating and other labor intensive baking techniques. In fact, the recipe was one that took three different pre-Easter attempts to get it right.

The lesson learned: make sure you communicate to others if you have a dog that can’t resist any kind of food left unattended.  I have frosting paws prints on my nice Easter linen to prove it was a lesson worth learning.

The silver lining: I got to watch my son carefully and lovingly make another lamb cake for her to decorate.

3) Positive communication always wins.

Arts Walk in Olympia the day before Easter is a crowded parking mess. As we approached our destination, I started fretting that we wouldn’t find a parking spot and chanting “I know we won’t find one.” Then, magically, one appeared right next in front of me!  Almost simultaneously, Elizabeth was  counter-chanting positively about what a great day it was going to be and immediately spilled coffee down her new shirt.  I was happy now. Liz, not so much.

The lesson learned: Even if you have a moment of negativity, you will still get lucky once in a while.

The silver lining: Coffee stains in Olympia, WA?  You fit right in.


Betty Lochner is the Owner of Cornerstone Coaching & Training. She specializes in personal and organizational transformation and is the author of  Dancing with Strangers: Communication skills for transforming your life at work and at home. And, it’s now available on Kindle! Check it out.

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