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I was recently driving with my 7-year old son in the car, and we were discussing how to recognize signs that someone needs a breather. You might think this is an odd conversation to have with a young child, but we were talking about how important it is to stop when people reach their limits. Taking a breather, Skill 9, is one of the more significant skills in the 19 relational brain skill sequence. Those who use the skill increase joy levels and build trust with the people they love. Those who are missing the skill may leave people feeling like roadkill – and this does not increase joy!

While sitting at a stoplight, I told my son, “Just like Daddy must slow down when a traffic light turns yellow, and stop when it turns red, we must learn to notice when people are tired, or they look like they had enough interaction for the moment. Then, when we see they are no longer having fun, we pause and stop.” My son nodded while I continued.

“Maybe we soften our voice, look away, or we might even take a step back so they don’t feel so overcrowded.” My son was attentively taking this in, when I asked, “Do you like it when someone else is talking when you are trying to talk?” He quickly said no. “I don’t either, buddy,” I said. Then I asked, “How do you feel when you know you need a break from talking, listening or interacting with someone?” The conversation continued for some time as my son expressed his thoughts on this topic.

It is my heartfelt desire to see my son learn and use this crucial skill that will often make or break relationships. Skill 9 is worth practicing, and we build trust when we skillfully take short pauses before people become maxed out. Reading and respecting non-verbal cues will give my son, and all of us, one of the best opportunities to spread God’s love. Skill 9 is a great way to help people feel cared for and valued.

Posted in Skill Thoughts

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  1. Deborah T

    We are studying this skill this week as we go thru the Transforming fellowship book. It’s an awesome skill I didn’t grow up with and thereby we were all overwhelmed regularly. But with these new skills I can raise my family differently: healthy! Thank you Chris and God!!

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