Our favorite workshop was the Gender Differences in Communication taught by Dee S. Barrett. It was great, very funny and so true! Greg and I have learned to communicate pretty well with each other during our years of marriage, but to have it totally spelled out for us was enlightening. I wish we had taken the class when we first got married. It would have saved us a lot of trouble. Brother Barrett explained that men and women use communication for different things, men to complete a task and women to feel closeness/intimacy. He also said that men and women think differently, which also leads to differences in communication. He compared a man's mind to the ridges in a waffle. He said when a man is doing something his brain is completely focused on that one thing; it's like being inside a specific crevice in a waffle. In order to think of something else, the man must leave that crevice and work in another one which completes another different task. He compared a women's brain to air traffic control, they take everything in and process it all at once. For example when a man is at work, he is focused on work. When a woman is at work she thinks of work, home, her family, friends, etc. He also pointed out that when you present a new idea to a man and ask what he thinks about it, he needs a moment to process that. He is first completing one task, which is listening, then he has to go to another task which is thinking and deciding his opinion. Women are different and will feed off each other when talking, forming their opinion the moment the information starts coming to them. Really interesting stuff, I thought. He did point out that this is how men's and women's brains work naturally; it is possible to condition them in other ways.
Brother Barret pointed out 8 ways in which men and women are alike.
- Both men and women need to feel safe and secure.
- Both men and women need to develop a positive picture of themselves.
- Both men and women need to value themselves and feel valued.
- Both men and women need to be involved in close loving relationships.
- Both men and women need to feel like they belong.
- Both men and women need to self-respect and feel like they are respected by others.
- Both men and women need to grow and develop mentally, physically, socially, emotionally and spiritually.
- Both men and women need to feel competent and like they are good at doing or achieving certain things.
I want to share one last thought he said that I thought was quite profound. He said, "If you like who you are, you will allow someone to love you."
What a wonderful opportunity it was to attend this conference. I was touched, uplifted and motivated. I saw some old school friends, and Greg and I met a good friend of Greg's dad, Chad Hymas, one of the speakers. I wish I had realized what a benefit these gatherings are when I was a youth and when I was single, and taken more advantage of all that was offered to me. Even with our best efforts we were unable to convince any of the singles in our ward to attend. We will continue to try and get them involved, but like most callings, it seems that this new calling is going to teach us more than anyone else.