Conversing with Relatives

Many of us see more relatives at this time of the year than at any other time.

Here is a suggestion to keep in mind. When you deal with family, loved ones, close friends, and other valued people, don’t begin a new conversation with baggage from the last one—or even think about it. If you do, one small incident or perceived slight can adversely influence that conversation along with days or weeks of future communications.

Goodman Ace, the legendary game show producer, had a classic observation: “If you can’t recall it, forget it.” In many cases, we can’t even recall why we were angry or upset. So, don’t try. Every communication should be thought of as a new one.

This came to mind the other day when, for some unknown reason, the question popped into my head, “What’s my favorite quotation?” Immediately came the response: “Don’t look back; something may be gaining on you.”

I have no idea how old I was when I heard this quotation by Satchel Paige, perhaps the greatest professional baseball pitcher of all time, but it must have had a profound effect on me. My entire life has been concerned with the future, rather than the past.

And why not? Life is more enjoyable this way. So be it with your family conversations this holiday season.