I am convinced that God gave me two ears and one mouth for a reason, I should listen twice as much as I speak. I often need to hear things twice before drawing a conclusion. This belief became part of my life at a tender young age after witnessing what can happen when people don’t listen carefully.
Our whole church was driving out to a camp to spend the day together.
Camp was heaven on earth for a nine-year old boy like me. Soon after arriving, all the men (about twenty of them) started playing volleyball. As they played, my mom, tired of trying to corral my cranky ten month old brother, decided to take a walk. She strapped him in the stroller and headed off down the hill. As she reached the bottom, she thought she heard someone scream in the distance. Listening, she began to make out the faint screams of several women. They were saying, “No!… Stop that!…Don’t do that!”. Unsure of how to help, mom ran back as fast as she could, pushing the stroller up the hill and into the gym. The gym, with the volleyball game still in progress and small children playing everywhere, was a market of confusion, noise, and chaos. My mom waved my dad over and tried to explain what had happened. Through the noise, however, he only heard the words, “Women in trouble!”.
Upon hearing this, he quickly whistled, halting the game, and shouted to the men the phrase he thought he had heard. Like a bolt of lightning, they all followed him out the door into the surrounding woods without even stopping to ask in what direction the cries had been coming from. The poor mis-informed men pushed through barbed wire and thorn thickets, determined to complete a misguided mission. Only one wise man actually stayed behind and asked my mom to repeat what she had said and give him all the details. By himself, he left in the right direction. A short time later he returned shaking his head and smiling. Thankfully the screams and cries to “stop that” had only been three nuns, splashing cold water on each other in a nearby stream.
Forty-five minutes passed before the other group of men trudged wearily back up the hill. Their clothes were shredded and their bodies filled with lacerations from the thorn bushes and barbed wire they had torn through, as they valiantly attempted to save the women. All their good intentions and effort wasted because no one had thought to listen carefully and ask questions before reacting. I believe that listening carefully to what others say is very important before I react and that is why God gave me two ears.
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