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Communication Lessons from a One Lane Bridge

There is a one lane bridge near the Project Patch Youth Ranch.  I’ve traveled this bridge hundreds of times and every trip across has gone well except for one.

On that trip I was riding my bike a2013-07-16 15.11.02cross it and was nearly across when a truck raced around the corner and crashed into me. I went over the hood and hit the windshield.  My bike went under and was a bent mess.
That accident took place in the spring of 2008 and is still vivid to me.  Today as I drove up to that bridge I still remembered the pain and damage that was done that morning when there was two-way traffic on a one lane bridge.
This morning while driving up to the bridge I noticed that there was a car approaching from the other side.  Since it was there before I was, I waited until they were across, did the subtle Idaho wave, checked to make sure it was clear and then headed across.  A safe and successful crossing.
Today I realized this isn’t the only bridge that I have to cross that is “one lane”.  Communication really is a one lane bridge.  There is a crash and wreck if both try to cross that the same time.  When I’m trying to get my point across as another person is trying to get their idea across to me means that there will be a crash.
This might seem obvious to you but since I’m a visual and experiential learner, the visual of a one lane bridge is really helpful.  Try to picture a one lane bridge next time you are talking with your teen and focus on the following.
  1. Only one person talking at a time
  2. When you are waiting, you need to focus on what they are saying and making sure they are clear before you get on the bridge.
  3. Remember to be friendly (okay I’m may be pushing things too far but in a small town you need to wave)
  4. It is safer to listen before speaking
How do you remember to not talk or think over someone as they are talking to you?