“Authentic communication is a continual dance between the heart and the mind, and between you and those with whom you communicate.”…”As you are passionate, convinced, and committed about the change you want to make, so others can become passionate, convinced, and committed as they engage with you around your message.” (Pearce & Komisar, 2013, p. 77)
I always admired my teachers, as I remember thinking that it must have took a lot of courage to be able to take over such an important role as it was teaching. As a teacher, you have to be patient, friendly, highly educated and specialized in your subject, knowing that some of the students would might want to study your subject further and make a profession out of it.
As I seemed to be very talented in Physics and Math, which later led me to Engineer Studies at the University of Chernivtsi, Olga and Galya were always trying to encourage me into developing my talents and go beyond my capabilities, testing my knowledge, intelligence and skills.
I was doing well in my secondary school, being almost brilliant in each class, but I remember that I didn’t enjoy classes with one of our strictest teachers, Mariya. She was a great teacher, although I always thought she took her subject more seriously than she maybe should, making us take long classes with endless dictates. She was teaching our native language, and I loved the sound of it, only that I thought that those dictates were a little boring, since we were speaking Ukrainian even in our dreams.
Even though the class of Mrs. Mariya wasn’t one of my favorite classes, I was truly inspired by all the brilliant poems we were memorizing and reading, learning to understand the urge of artistic creation and everlasting need of transforming feelings and emotion into words.
I was trying to depict everything I felt, but most of the poems I was writing were about my mother, all of them were, as my thought were somehow always revolving around her, often asking her question: “Why?”. I was searching for resolution through my poems, wondering and trying to explain my life, to myself, to someone who would listen and understand.
Once, we all got the assignment to write an essay about our mothers. I wrote a poem, remembering the heavy silence floating in the room, once I started reading it:
“Mom, why have you left me early in life?
Why? I am asking you. I’d understand.
Have I caused any pain and scars?
Tell me more, to your only friend.
Try to remember, my mom, how I’ve spoken
My first sounds to you in your arms;
Then when I grew up a little bit older
I’ve written the poems about you, mom.
Again, I whisper to myself “My Mother”
Again, I’m sketching these words with such zeal.
Again, these letters appear “My Mother”.
Again, I’m searching for a smile in a dream.
Why could not I love you, my mother?
Why could not I say to you “My Mom”?
My heart was broken, my soul was devoured.
But I believed you’ve been the one.
When will I hear your voice so tender?
Carried through air to me by the winds?
When will I catch it, will it deliver
Happiness, joy, and fulfill all my dreams?
Will that voice teach me first letters?
Will that voice bring me a smile?
Will it remind me of my childhood years
That vanished away from me for a while?
When can I write for you, my mother,
A few poems about us in a dream?
So you know your son is now older,
So I can hear, as a night gale, you sing.
I think I can, believe me, my mother,
To love you deeply in my adulthood heart.
And scars and pain will be gone forever.
You are my family and we are now one.”
If the classroom was quiet before, after I read my assignment, the silence went even heavier, as all eyes were looking right at me, as I was standing in front of the blackboard, feeling naked and vulnerable, but at the same time fulfilled by the pride I put in my work.
After that moment, I knew that everyone in the class was feeling sorry for me, as none of them could even guess how it was like to live without a mother by your side. They all had their mothers cooking for them, taking care of them, singing to them, reading bed stories, and what was most important caring for them and watching them grow.
Oksana, one of the girls in my class, which was very polite and kind and was capable of solving even the most complicated math problems, often doing math with me, was hiding her face from the rest of the class as she was sobbing quietly, touched by the words I wrote.
Although I felt sorry for seeing her affected and sad, I was at the same time amazed by how the words were capable of summoning tears, empathy and compassion.
This was the very first time I recognized the power of the authentic communication. I continued writing poems and inspiring the audiences in Ukraine since my very first class presentation through myths, stories and experiences expressed in my poems. Unfortunately, even though telling stories through poems came to me naturally, after so many years, only recently, by taking this wonderful communications class, I have realized that leaders that have the power of connecting the heart and the mind will, indeed, motivate and inspire their listeners and will change their stories and lead organizations to success.