When you Assume… Don Knotts' Communication Lesson

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I remember Don Knotts drawing on a courtroom chalkboard during an episode of Mayberry RFD: Ass|U|Me. “When you assume,” he said, “You make an ass out of you and me.”

Who says there’s nothing to learn from television! Think about how often you take action based on what you assume about a situation, when really you don’t know for sure. This can trigger a cycle of miscommunication that can spiral out of control and interfere with our relationships.

Say your child has been in trouble at school because she has forgotten her homework. You only find out because her teacher calls you. “But, Mom, I didn’t want you to get mad.” (Which is exactly what you are because she didn’t tell you!) She made an assumption about your response, and that prevented open communication.

The best way to teach your kids to stop making assumptions is to stop making assumptions yourself! It’s not easy but it’s definitely a pattern you can change. Make the distinction between what you know and what you think you know. That difference can make a huge difference!

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