Download PDF

It occurred to me yesterday that there are a lot of wasted words in our world.  I’ve heard quite a few of them lately.  I wanted to share just a few of them with you this morning.

A very upstanding young man saw his younger brother fall out of a tree at a family picnic/party.  He landed square on his posterior, turned white as a ghost and was gasping for breath.  Their mother was super upset and worried.  The young man (trying to help) turned and said to her, “Mom, all he did was fall on his rear and get the wind knocked out of him.  He’s fine.”  When I learned of this I asked him if it worked (knowing it wouldn’t/couldn’t/hadn’t).  He quickly and assuredly replied that it, in fact, had not.

Last night Joe and Bella, well after bed time, got into a bit of a scrum.  Joe was in the bathroom, Bella in her bedroom.  Well, Bella didn’t like that Joe had picked up her doll (that was in the bathroom) and was holding it.  So, she stormed in and yelled at him (he did say that he was going to poop on it) so she proceeded to (in her words) “gently put my hands around his neck.”  As I spoke with her, he interrupted me not once, not twice, but three times.  After the first time I told him to be quiet and that he’d get his turn.  The second time I told him that he wasn’t in trouble because if Bella hadn’t gotten out of bed none of this would have happened.  The third time I turned and (angrily) said, “You weren’t in trouble.  NOW you are.  Nothing, all you had to say was nothing.  Now, you went from being at best not the focus of my anger to the center of it.”

Later, during our “wing night” I noticed Rachel (She had dropped an empty bin down the steps from our loft in our office down the steps.  It made a horrific, person falling down the steps sound.  Amy Hammond was the only one to jump up and check to make sure Rachel was ok…I knew she was) going through baby clothes to give to our good friend Hannah.  She was carefully examining each one for spots and stains.  I blurted out, “Look, she’s the one getting free stuff.  Let her decide if they are too stained.”  I knew that Rachel would still examine each piece.  I knew that she wouldn’t even respond to me.  I knew that it’s just not how “it’s done.”  Yet, I said it anyhow.

I asked that young man mentioned earlier if his mother had spoken tersely to him.  After asking me what tersely meant he said that in fact she had.  I asked him when he realized that he went from having nothing to do with the situation to being in trouble he replied, “You know…just  now.”

I went in to Joe’s room and told him, “Do you realize that I wasn’t mad at you until you interrupted me three times?”  He said, I do now…I”m sorry.  To his credit he quickly accepted his punishment (no t.v. before school today) and went to sleep.

I spoke with Rachel later that evening and told her what a waste my words to her were.  She laughed and said, “I barely even heard you.”  I wondered aloud why I sometimes even talk.  I also said that 10 years ago we probably would have fought over the whole thing.  Now, I just laughed at myself.

Perhaps the greatest comment on wasted words came from one of those mentioned here who was wasting words.  The upstanding young man?  No.  The great communicator and emotional responder…er that is me?  Ummmmmm, no.  It was Joe.  Not last night sadly, but on Monday.  He and Bella had gotten into a bit of a heated tete a’ tete that I found needed some parental intervention.  This time I asked for Joe’s account of why Bella had gotten an elbow to the lip.  After 20 seconds of trying to arrange himself as blameless, while never looking up from his Nintendo 3DS, he said, “I think…I think it would be best at this time if I stopped talking.”

What a brilliant observation for a 10 year old boy!  What valuable wisdom and discernment for a 10 year old boy.  Who was I kidding?  How great would it be and how much angst/drama/ugly situations would we all save ourselves from if we just heeded that advice, “I think…I think it would be best at this time if I stopped talking.”

Share This