Lawson writes . . . sharing thoughts and memories

December 8, 2010

Say What?

Filed under: Uncategorized — lawsonjolly @ 5:00 am

Communication!  What an asset!  But what a mine field it can be!

Several years ago as we were traveling, we saw a large sign in front of an auto salvage yard.  On the marquee were these words: Free Puppies . . .  Ready to Eat.  Yes, it got our attention.  That is what the sign said.  Too quickly we took those words to mean that they were ready to be eaten!  Now, we have eaten dog in Korea . . . but here in America?

Within a few moments we understood.  The owner, who was obviously trying to dispose of a litter of pups he did not want to keep, was offering them free.  He was attempting to communicate to those who drove down the road that the puppies were now old enough to eat on their own.  They had been weaned!

But that is not what the sign communicated.  That is a good example of how careful we must be in saying what we really mean.  Last week a mother was sharing with me about her daughter being on Facebook.  She had allowed it as long as the mother had the privilege to check it.  The mother in her role as monitor read these words that the daughter had written to her boyfriend.  “I hope to spend Friday night with you.”

The mother reacted —  as most mothers would.  She knew the daughter did not mean to spend the entire night . . . and especially sleeping with the young man.  But isn’t that what most people would have interpreted the remark to be?  The mother knew that was not the intent because the daughter had a curfew and it was to come home directly after the football game.  The daughter had simply meant she was looking forward to their being together on that Friday night for the entire evening that she was allowed to be at the game.

The wise mother talked with the daughter that this was not a good statement and could so easily be misunderstood.  As the mother related this to me . . . all I could say was, “Another blog!”  It is a good subject that needs to receive some thought.  Our words can so easily be misunderstood.

Here is another one.  The wife of a devoted husband sees a friend in the store.  The friend asks about her husband and if he was getting his strength back from a recent illness.  To acknowledge the physical improvement of her husband, she responded, “He beat me up this morning.”  Imagine what a person who overheard that remark was thinking.  It sounded like a wife speaking of physical abuse from her husband.  Of course, that was not the meaning of the statement.  She simply meant he had gotten up early that morning prior to her.

Does all this give you something to think about?  We need to be careful about the use of words . . . and the context.  Others can perceive something different from what we mean.  How quickly misunderstood communication can ruin a reputation, destroy a friendship, and even create gossip!

Of course, there will always be those who will hear what they want to hear.  We can do little about those folks . . . except avoid them!

Here is a little dittie:  “I know you believe you understood what you think I said, but I am not sure you realize that what you heard is not what I said.”

A lesson for us is it is not always what you say . . . but how you say it!  That is probably worth repeating.  It is not always what you say . . . but how you say it!

I know my use of words through the years has certainly often been misunderstood.  Unfortunately, most of the time it was a result of my not being careful in expressions I used.  These examples I have shared with you can aid me in learning to be more cautious.  Communication is necessary to relate to others . . . but careful communication is mandated.

I hope I have said all this in the right way! 

“He who guards his mouth and his tongue keeps himself from calamity.”  (Proverbs 21:23)



1 Comment »

  1. Dear Pastor Jolly: I just discovered your blogs. Now not only is the first time for me to “blog you” (how is that for “how we say things”?), but it is the first time I have blogged! I was reading your past blogs until 1 am, couldn’t stop. It has been so long since I have seen you and Mrs. Jolly and seeing ya’ll again was such a blessing! Now I am signed in and can read your “blogs” to catch up then each time I get on the computer. I still have much to learn about this computer, sorta miss a typewriter! Used to be too busy “slinging that carriage” instead of “browsing”! Do they make typewriters anymore? LOL

    Comment by doriswhite — December 8, 2010 @ 8:34 am | Reply

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