Listen First

February 24, 2023 by  
Filed under Daily Devotions

By Anne Johnson –

The smell of sizzling bacon wafted down the hall. Mom had hollered at me to get up and ready for school, but the scrumptious smell was truly my catalyst.

I dressed rapidly, ran a brush through my curly tangled hair and skipped to the kitchen.

“Morning M-” I was shushed before I could complete my greeting.

“Listen,” Mom whispered.

I sat at the kitchen listening to the announcer’s voice sounding from the cube shaped radio perched on the kitchen table. My siblings arrived and were also shushed. They plopped down in their chairs as we ate our morning meal in silence.

I have always enjoyed talking. My mom often told people that the only time I was quiet was when I was asleep. To my mother’s credit, she tried to warn me about stranger danger, but if she was with me, I had the confidence to talk to anyone.

I squirmed in my chair, folded and refolded my napkin and glared at the noisy annoying radio. Mom sat seemingly transfixed by the words of the announcer.

“And that is the rest of the story. Good day.”

Mom stood and began to gather the breakfast dishes. I sighed and pushed back my chair, “Well, he sure was a chatterbox!” I declared.

My family burst into laughter. When I was a child my nickname was “Chatterbox”. I had met my match. Some man named Paul Harvey had out-talked me.

After breakfast I pleaded with my mom, “Please, walk me to school today. I need to talk to you. It’s very important.” To my delight, she agreed.

“What was so important?” Mom asked as we neared the elementary school. I gazed at the ground, kicking the little pebbles that were in front of me.

“Well.” Nothing. I didn’t really have anything to say, I only wanted to talk. To have someone listen to the ramblings of my mind. I wanted to…well, chatter.

Mom stopped and knelt in front of me. “Annie, do you know why I wanted to listen to the radio this morning? It was a very touching story about a mother and her children.”

“Oh, but-”

“Want to know something special?” Mom asked.

I nodded. Mom shared a truth from God’s word that had changed her heart. She shared from a verse in James 1:19, “…Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry” (NIV).

My mom further explained to me that every word we speak needs to be carefully considered, for by our very words, we have the ability to share God’s truth and love. If all we do is chatter, what do we, or others, gain?

It wasn’t easy to change my habit of yacking. However, I reasoned that listening must be more valued by God than talking, since He gave us two ears and only one mouth. Breakfasts around our kitchen table took on a new tradition as the little cube radio entertained us with moving stories. As I listened I learned to treasure the wisdom and wit of Paul Harvey, but it was the tender moments after when mom asked me what I thought of the story that impacted me most. In this way, my mother was imparting to me the art of listening first before I spoke.

About Anne Johnson

Anne Johnson spends her time being a wife and mother, home school teacher, writer, registered nurse and loves spending time watching God do amazing things in her and her families lives.
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One Response to “Listen First”
  1. Dawn Wilson says:

    Loved your post. You drew me in and finished with a solid message. Lesson learned. (My nickname was “Chatty Dawn” (like the “Chatty Cathy” doll – remember?)

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