Spread the Word: Talking Creates Better Understanding

Arthi - Westford, Massachusetts
Entered on October 23, 2008
Age Group: 18 - 30
Themes: family

I believe in the power of communication.

I can remember back to a Friday night after a football game in high school when my dad would pick me up. I would get in the car and sit while the radio, usually NPR, would be streaming in the background. We would both hear the news of the world, but would know nothing about the daily news of each other. We were like two strangers, going through the roles of driver and passenger.

There was a tension in the air, amplified by the lack of conversation between my dad and me. I didn’t have anything I wanted to share with my dad; he grew up in India and would not approve of my American teenage life.

I wanted to be able to joke around with my girlfriends about cute boys. I wanted to be able to go to a dance and not have to stand on the fringes, knowing that no one would ask me to dance.

My desire to lead a teenage life of my own caused me to begin to keep more and more of my day to myself, spending more time on the phone with my friends rather than with my family. I began to feel that I was alone, and that going to my parents with any of my problems or confusion was a sign of my own weakness. I started to hate who I was becoming, but at the same time, I didn’t want to open up and talk to my parents about it.

The breaking point came when I broke up with my boyfriend. My mom found me crying while on the phone, and obviously concerned, tried to talk to me about it. I pushed her away, trying to tell her that everything was fine and that she was making it worse by talking to me. Less than a week later, after two years of concealing that I had a boyfriend, I opened up and told my parents about him.

Now, when my dad picks me up from college, NPR is on the radio, but I find myself competing against the news from the radio to give him my own news from the week—the people I’ve met, the courses I’m taking, and the little joys and troubles I’ve had—and in return, receive little anecdotes of my dad’s experiences in college, learning for the first time that my dad is more than an authority figure, that he is a real person who went through many of the things that I am going through now.

I believe in the power of communication because it keeps me close to the people who mean the most to me—my mom, my sister and my dad.