andreas | beccai

observations shared.

Este ou Aquele

I had wonderful Sabbath yesterday. I went to PMC and Dwight Nelson preached a very challenging message, you can check it our here:  “Of Perfume and Tears and Grumpy Old Men”.

Afterwards I went to a Brazilian potluck with my wife. We lined up, and right at the end of the table was some kind of pie, and I asked the server if I could have some. She said “este ou aquele.” I stared at her blankly. The she said in English  “You came to a Brazilian potluck so you must speak Portugese – “este ou aquele.” My wife eventually came to my rescue and explained what she was asking: (this or that?)

It reminded me of a trip I took to Cedar Point Theme park in the middle of a sweltering Ohio summer. We had been there for a few hours and my lips were sewn together from thirst, I was desperate for water.  I went to a concession stand to find water. The person who came to serve me was a didn’t look any older than 16. He reminded me of Shaggy from Scooby-Doo, skinny, nonchalant and totally clueless. This was our conversation (my English accent, his American):

Me: “Can I have some warter please?”

Boy: “huh”

Me: “Can I have some warter please?”

Boy: “huh? you want what?”

Me: “Warter”

Boy: “You want fries?”

– at this point I am starting to wonder about this kids mental capacity. The lights are on but nobody is home…

Me: “No, I just want warter” ( desperate I turn our conversation into Pictionary and start signing for the kid)

Boy: “You want Coke?”

– Now I am thinking, good grief! Am I going to die of thirst in an American Theme park? Where is my American cousin when I need him?

Then the light bulb came on in my head, and I understood I had the answer to my own dilema. I thought to myself “this kid has probably never left Ohio and so my accent is throwing him off,  so let me meet him where he is.”

Me: ” Can I have some WARDER please”

Boy: “Ohh, warder, sure!”

I always think about this story with a smile, but it forever holds an important lesson for me. That is this – I sometimes miss opportunities in life because I don’t take the time to understand other people, but get frustrated that they don’t understand me.

In his famous prayer, St. Francis of Assisi asked God to help him to “Seek first to understand, then to be understood.” This principle is the key to effective interpersonal communication and opens the way for a plethora of opportunities!

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2 comments on “Este ou Aquele

  1. Joy
    January 25, 2012

    =O The SAME thing happened to me at Panda Express. My cousin had to come to the rescue otherwise we would have been there all day lol.

  2. xista
    February 1, 2012

    “Seek first to understand, then to be understood.” I want to hold onto this one. Another excellent post!

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This entry was posted on January 22, 2012 by in Communication, General, Success and tagged , , , , , .
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