“Even a fool is counted wise when he holds his peace; when he shuts his lips, he is considered perceptive.” Proverbs 17:28
The Proverb chapter for today included a verse that reminded me of a humorous incident that happened several years ago.
When I first started homeschooling, I was blessed to be a part of a wonderful support group made up of Christian homeschooling moms. We laughed together, prayed together, had park days and field trips for our children, and generally encouraged each other. Even though I have long since moved far away from that city and have only infrequent contact with a few of those ladies, I still cherish the friendships that were established when I was a young mom of young children and sometimes overwhelmed by the responsibility of motherhood and homeschooling.
After a couple of years of being a part of this group, I was privileged to be asked to be a part of the leadership for the group. We were having a “board meeting” one night, and plans were being discussed. As the youngest member of the group, I was mostly sitting quietly and observing, especially since I didn’t feel that I really have anything of worth to add to what was being said. Finally, one of the other moms turned to me and said, “What do you think? You’re always so wise, sitting there quietly while the rest of us are all talking.”
Well, our family had just recently read the above verse, so I immediately quipped, “Even a FOOL is considered wise when he keeps his mouth shut!”
We have often repeated this incident in our family and laughed about it. There has been more reason for repeating the antecdote than for a laugh, though. We have tried to teach our children to not just feel that they always have to be interjecting into a conversation, but to wait until they really have something to contribute. When we are seen as someone who always has to say something about everything, others tend to give less credence to what we have to say. However, when we are thoughtful about what we say, people tend to listen more and give our words more weight. I certainly wasn’t sitting in the middle of that group of ladies feeling at all wise, but my opinion was specifically sought BECAUSE I wasn’t feeling that I HAD to interject myself into the conversation.
It has often been said that we are given one mouth and two ears for a reason. We are to listen twice as much as we speak. How often do I instead speak twice as much as I listen? Am I even more guilty of this when it comes to my children, or am I careful to listen to them? Ouch.