That’s how we usually think of the word dialogue. It’s a conversation between two people, an exchange of ideas, thoughts, opinions, or stories.
Both people not only talk, they also both listen. Otherwise, it’s a monologue. If you guessed that this week’s photo challenge is dialogue, you’re right. There are as many ways to interpret that theme as there are conversations that can be discussed about it. But I’ve chosen to be literal with my interpretation.
Papa and I have one son; he’s our youngest. Over the years, we’ve had too many dialogues with him to count. When he was young and his dad traveled often with his job, son and I carried on lots of conversation filled with love and hugs. When he became a teenager and started spreading his wings of independence, he and I often clashed during our discussions and butted heads as well. But Papa and he could always have calm, rational consultations together.
Our son has grown into a fine godly man and we are grateful that he has a strong faith in God. Son excelled in school and college, landed a successful career as a mechanical engineer, and completed his masters degree in mechanical engineering. He demonstrates maturity and responsibility and is happily married to a beautiful, inside and out, young lady who we’ve welcomed into our family with love.
As our son matured, I noticed his conversations now tend to be more meaningful with his dad and he often asks Papa for advice. And isn’t that the way it should be? Shouldn’t a man feel close to his father, desire that manly mentorship, and want to spend time in dialogue with him? Each time we visit with our son, I am reminded of this. I watch the two as they huddle together discussing life and other topics of conversation.
Recently, our son and daughter-in-law moved from the state on one side of us to the state on the other side of us because of a temporary job assignment and we visited them in their new location. As we discussed with son which weekend to visit, he related that there was one place in particular he wanted to take us to, a place he knew his dad would enjoy.
So we trotted off to the local military museum where both son and father were interested in every aspect. As I meandered around taking photos and chatting with daughter-in-law, I often looked behind me to notice son and father deep in conversation over some display they were viewing. And I have to say that seeing them in dialogue warmed my heart.
They continued another form of dialogue when they excitedly decided to try the flight simulator together. Their roles were easily defined – son was the pilot, dad was the gunner. They trained briefly before they entered the simulator capsule and emerged from their ‘flight’ later with huge smiles and thumbs up, even after rolling around and being turned upside down a few times. They worked together in perfect unison, maneuvering their ‘fighter jet’ and ‘shooting’ down nine enemy planes in their few minutes of flight time. The attendant told them the average take downs only totaled three, so they obviously worked well as a team, and came close to the record for the day.
Dialogue. It’s about more than just conversing. It’s about listening. It’s about caring. It’s about connecting. And yes, it’s even about loving.
“The most basic and powerful way to connect to another person is to listen. Just listen. Perhaps the most important thing we ever give each other is our attention…. A loving silence often has far more power to heal and to connect than the most well-intentioned words.” ~ Rachel Naomi Remen