I listened intently on the phone. My son was explaining why his grades were bad. I waited for him to finish and then I let him have it.
“Quit it with the lame excuses. You need to buckle down and do better. These grades are f@#$ing unacceptable. I never got grades like this when I was your age.”
What a way to start my barrage. My big mouth was open wide and doing great harm.
I have a big mouth and I am not afraid to open it
Politics bore me — they seem like a waste of time. Especially nowadays with our country so divided.
But, I possess strong opinions about many other things such as leadership, music, sports, travel, cigars, coffee, and beer.
I am happy to share them when others ask.
I also have a big mouth and I am not afraid to use it.
Sometimes without prompting. It is this problem that I want to talk about in the blog — me and my big mouth.
Why I wrote this billboard
I wrote this billboard as a reminder that what I say matters.
I need to be careful with my words. They carry weight. They can be powerful.
My words can do a lot of good, or much harm. The choice is mine to make. Either I control my tongue, or it will control me?
I know all too well what happens when I do not shut my big mouth. The challenge I face is the same one that everyone does. It is difficult to stay silent.
Many of us open our mouths too much
Everyone is talking way too much these days. Turn on the television and watch the news. A bunch of people all talking over each other.
It is hard to pay attention to everything that is said, much less understand it.
The internet is not much better. People tweeting without pause about anything and everything. Responding angrily against others that they do not even know. Trolling is commonplace.
It is way too easy to let the whole world know what you think about something by merely hitting the post button. We live in a toxic culture.
My big mouth is open way too wide at times
I am no better. I am tempted to let others know what I think, even about topics that are well outside my expertise.
It is way too easy to “chime in” during a conversation, or “tell you what I really think”. I fall into that trap on a regular basis.
In fact, sometimes I open my big mouth way too wide. Both my feet fit in it.
I later regret what I said, and sometimes pay the price for talking too much. You may make the same error if you are not careful.
My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry.
Andy Stanley’s advice about my big mouth
Andy Stanley is a great pastor, leader, and teacher. I listen to his podcasts every Sunday.
Recently he preached a short series of sermons called Me and My Big Mouth. The content was excellent.
The one theme he shared that really resonated with me is the idea that I should be quick to listen and slow to speak.
It is based on Biblical principles but is a helpful idea for everyone. I am sharing the video below because I think it is well worth watching.
How I incorporated this billboard into my life
I do my best these days to better manage my words.
At work, I am deliberate about listening more and speaking less in meetings. I also avoid sending anything controversial in emails.
It is way too easy for emails to get legs.
Facebook is another great example. Many people post political content and other provocative comments that everyone can read.
I do not engage in this type of discussion.
Sure — I will debate which rock band is the greatest of all time. The answer is Led Zeppelin.
But, I refuse to discuss politics on social media. I would rather be quick to listen and slow to speak.
What about you?
Are you watching your words?
Are you quick to listen and slow to speak?
If not, I recommend heeding Andy Stanley’s advice. It has saved me much pain and trouble over the past few years.
Watch your words. They are more powerful than you realize. Quick to listen and slow to speak is sage advice.
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I write a blog for my sons called Doug Keating Letter to Sons. I am sharing content from my blog here. I hope you enjoyed it. All feedback is welcome. Thanks for reading it.