There is virtually no area of our lives where symbols do not play a major role. From the time we are little, we see and hear symbols all around us. The toys we play with are symbols of things in adult life. Playing with things like dolls and cars, to name just a few, uses specific symbols to represent ideas and concepts so we can learn through play how to act out situations in real life.
Games are filled with symbols. The rules and the strategies in games allows us to test out life lessons in structured environments where mistakes have non-serious, short term consequences, and where victories bring lessons and the experience success.
The difficulty comes in finding agreement or common understanding of what symbols mean. Trying to have a conversation without a common understanding of what the symbols used in the conversation would be like two people, who each speak a totally different language from one another trying to have a meaningful conversation.
We might think we have common understanding of symbols, but there have been some very clear divisions over what basic symbols stand for. We have historically used symbols like the flag to symbolize basic understandings about our country. Activities in recent years would suggest the meaning of the symbolism represented by the flag is different to some people than others.
Relationships have symbolism that is important when the relationship is established. An example of what I am saying is the parent/child relationship. This changes as it moves through phases like adolescence and adulthood. The relationship can also change when external factors occur and change the dynamics of the relationship.
As we move forward, it is a good idea to be always looking at the symbols in our lives. Understanding those symbols and our relationship to them. This allows us to be sure they have a clear meaning for everyone involved. Honest dialogue is the best way to be sure that everyone understands the symbolism they are dealing with. I welcome hearing, ”I’m not sure what you mean by that (symbol). Could you clarify for me what it means to you?”
I would rather honestly disagree with someone’s understanding of a symbol than criticize or judge out of a lack of understanding. As we move forward, join me in seeking to understand symbols and what they mean to others.If you would like to receive new As We Move Forward posts, please subscribe to the As We Move Forward mailing list by clicking here. I release entries on a bi-weekly basis.
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