There is an amazing quote in one of my favorite quote books of all time, you may have heard of it … the Bible. Well, in Proverbs 2:11 it says, “Discretion will protect you and understanding will guard you.” I love the way the author gives life and character to these words, discretion and understanding, as if they had power within them; and honestly I believe they do. This is beautiful, comforting and true, however, I can assure you that I am in desperate need of practice to apply it to my life. You see, I have never been what one would call discreet. Defined as: careful in one’s speech and actions in order to avoid causing offense; intentionally unobtrusive, I could almost laugh at how, “non-discreet” I can be at times. It isn’t that I’m too brash, too bold or even too blunt, I just find that I cannot really hold in my feelings if I’m passionate about something, (and honestly, I tend to be pretty opinionated).
Sometimes I wish I were more like my sister. Bright and beautiful, she is and always has been, a listener. Ever since we were young I can remember her as one who measured her words and actions with precise calculation. She never said something unless she was absolutely sure of herself and offered advice only sparingly. I think people love to talk to her so much because she truly embraces that Irish proverb which says, “God gave us two ears and one mouth for a reason, so we ought to listen twice as much as we speak.” She is careful, and cautious, open-minded and able to relate to most. I feel that understanding does “guard” her in a sense, because she takes the time to see where someone is coming from and doesn’t speak with a quick or sharp tongue that gets her into trouble.
Me, on the other hand … I’m another story, a loud, chatty one. Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m a pretty nice person, but when God gave me two ears, he gave me an overwhelmingly large mouth to go with them. Sometimes I feel like talking is such a part of me that I wouldn’t even recognize myself without being heard. If you’re unsure, look at this blog! Tons of words! I enjoy very much listening to people, but I find that I’m a fixer, a do-er, and I tend not to be very discreet in my offering of whatever thoughts come to mind the moment they enter. Sometimes I joke around with my students that I became a teacher for the simple fact that no one would be able to write, “talks too much in class,” on my report cards anymore, because I would now be paid to do it!
All joking aside, I do think there is something to be said for hearing people out. As “good girl,” as I try to be, I can think of many times I formed an opinion of something that was said or perceived in someone’s tone that turned out to be just a random comment. It makes me think, God, I hope no one is judging me in the flippant comments that sometimes come out of my mouth! Graciously, I am usually surrounded by middle schoolers who have much worse things coming out of their mouths, so they forgive me! Still, I know if I want discretion to protect me, I need to listen and if I am ever to have understanding be my guard, I need to break through the preconceptions I place upon others who are just waiting, like me, to be heard.