Trainer Tip: There's one sure way to find hidden assumptions, stop and check it out! Trainer Tip Never go to bed mad. Stay up and fight.—Phyllis Diller Recently I visited my parents and I offered to take down their Christmas decorations for them. I offered because they are elderly, and I know how difficult it is for them to do certain tasks. This would meet my need to contribute to their lives. My father responded to my request by saying, in a tone I heard as impatience: “There are five big boxes that the decorations go in. Your sister is the only one who knows what goes where.” I decided that he would prefer that I leave things as they were to meet his need for ease, so I said, “OK.” About twenty minutes later, I realized that I had made an assumption so I checked it out with him by saying, “Pop, when you told me that there were five big boxes that hold the decorations, were you hoping it would discourage me from taking down the decorations?” “No, not at all,” he said. “Oh, were you just telling me that you couldn’t help me figure out how the decorations are stored?” “Yes. I don’t know where anything goes.” “So would you like me to take down your decorations if I figure out how to store them myself?” “Yes, I would!” I almost missed an opportunity to contribute to my parents’ lives because I misunderstood what my dad was trying to tell me. Part of living in a Compassionate Communication consciousness is developing a willingness to come to complete understanding before taking the next action. Don’t assume anything. Check out your assumptions. Don’t miss opportunities to connect with other people by ending the conversation before it’s over. Everyone loses when we do this. Be aware of times today when you assume whatsomeone means and check it out with him. This trainer tip is an excerpt from Mary Mackenzie's book Peaceful Living, available from PuddleDancer Press.