Monday, Feb. 24 was the last conference day of the school year for Reede Gray.

While conferences are a hectic time of the year for both teachers and families, conferences provide such a valuable time to communicate strengths as well as areas to keep working on.

The value of a face-to-face meeting, where a real conversation can take place, can’t be replicated.

The good news is we live in a world where technology has made it so much easier to communicate with each other than ever before.

Now, I don’t mean writing a post about the current political scene and seeing what kind of replies you might get. There is not enough room in this newspaper to write about that.

I mean pick up the phone and dial a phone number or take the time to have a good old fashion face to face conversation. The value of a back and forth conversation can’t be matched.

In order for a back and forth conversation to occur, there needs to be a couple of things in place.

First, there needs to be a topic of interest to both parties. If one party in the conversation is not interested, how much back and forth will there really be?

Second, there needs to be an understanding that communication is a two-way street. Too often, communication starts with one side having a strong opinion or comment on a topic which is followed by the second party making a defensive comment in return.

Author Zig Ziglar once said, “We should speak in such a way that others want to listen to us, and we should listen in such a way that others want to speak to us.”

That, to me, is the true definition of communication being a two-way street.

So if we listen with the intent to understand, we will be able to see the issue from the other side of the coin and thus, have a conversation. If we listen with the intent to reply, we might as well be on social media.

– Paul van der Hagen serves as the principal for Reede Gray Elementary School