I was watching a show the other day where a new boss(Rogers) was talking to one of his employees(Beale)…a highly qualified tech guy in intelligence services. He was telling Beale that he had heard he had certain qualifications and that he(the boss) knew Beale could help him with what he was about to propose. Beale, not wanting to gloat about his astounding capabilities, downplayed his talents. At which Rogers says ‘I know you can do it’. Then Beale, startled by his boss’s confidence in him, carefully agreed and said, well yes I can and I can do even more but I don’t like to talk about it as I don’t like to brag :-).
I thought this was a fascinating statement. Where did we ever get the idea that talking about ourselves, our capabilities, gifts, and talents is bragging? Most often, it is not a brag at all but an affirmation that we are confident in what we do and who we are and there are stories to be told and experiences to be talked about surrounding those very same capabilities, talents, and gifts.
I am writing about this topic today as we have started receiving Christmas and holiday cards with letters in them filled with news from relatives and friends all over the country. I, for one, love these letters as it gives me a glimpse into all the happenings I missed during the year whether it was due to distance, not enough time to connect as often, or too many other priorities pulling at the minutes we have in each day causing us to neglect those far away. While some people feel that Christmas letters are merely a way to brag about our year, I see them as what they truly are, a way to stay connected and to celebrate the happiness in others’ lives and also to know when someone has gone through or is going through a rough time. It’s a time to hear about what has been important to each sender during this past year. They are a time to hear about trips taken and accomplishments that we didn’t know about but would like to know about so that we, too, can share in the happiness or ‘be there’ in the tough times. Receiving a Christmas letter is like a conversation we are having with others that encompasses their entire past year.
It is like this with gatherings of people near to us in location as well. We don’t often see them on a daily or even a monthly basis but when we do, it’s a time to embrace conversation and listen to what brings them joy, love, contentment and even their worries, fears, and frustrations. To me, those are the best conversations. The ones where people are really talking and listening to each other about things that matter most to each of them in their lives. Those are the deep, rich conversations that I wish we all had more of.
At the end of the above conversation between Rogers and Biell, the supervisor educates his young employee by saying, ” it isn’t bragging if it’s TRUE!’
Truth has rarely been made so clear as it is in this statement. It isn’t bragging, it is just facts with a little feeling added to it and that is what makes conversations so very important in our world as with each one of these letters, cards, and conversations, we grow a little closer to each other and gain a better understanding of the lives we each are living.