What you say should be what you mean

Published 11:38 am Wednesday, July 7, 2021

When I was growing up my parents taught me many useful lessons that although I didn’t realize it, I would need when I became older. My mother taught me lessons such as how to sew on a button and how to cook an egg.

I recall a time as a child when my chores had lost the battle with watching The Brady Bunch and eating cheese puffs. When my father arrived home he inquired why I had not lived up to my promise.

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I just waived it off and answered that I would do them some other time. Instead of cutting a switch as some parents would do, he sat me down and said that the only thing a man has of any value is a good reputation and to do exactly what you say you will do.

I was reminded of these lessons recently when I posted an item for sale online. Since our dog has put its foot down and demanded its equal rights by sleeping in the bed, we no longer needed the kennel we bought for him. I placed it for sale on marketplace and I had no idea of the craziness that I would endure from that listing.

The first week was marred with people who promised to meet but never showed up. No call just left me sitting there. I just silently said, “Daddy thank you for teaching me not to be that way.”

Over the next few weeks I received several messages from interested buyers. I again thought of my father as each one tried to talk the price down.

What they didn’t realize is that I was taught to say what I mean and mean what I say. If I had wanted to sell the kennel for $10 less then I would have priced it for that.

I realize in our world people say things all the time that they don’t mean. Cars and houses are listed at prices that no one expects to receive. The check is really not in the mail, People don’t really care how my weekend was and people say that your baby is cute when it actually looks like a wrinkled mushroom.

Saying what you mean is important in our personal relationships as well.

Recently I found myself in such a situation.

I went outside to do some weed eating. As I approached the edge of the yard, I saw a bunch of what I thought were weeds so I set the trimmer to high and destroyed them like a tornado in a trailer park. About halfway through the trimming I become overwhelmed with the smell of spearmint. So much so that I began to think that I was in a chewing gum factory.

It was then that I remembered a forgotten statement my wife had made about her planting an herb garden at the edge of the yard. I was engulfed in a rerun of The Andy Griffith Show at the time and didn’t really digest the statement until that very moment of fear after I had destroyed them.

Saying what you mean is more than being firm in your promises. It’s being honest and straight forward as well.

I walked in the house with my head held high and told my wife that I had something to tell her. I then proceeded to tell her how I was outside trimming and I saw the neighbor’s dog dig up her herb garden but I chased it away. I then turned my face toward Heaven and whispered, “I’m honest daddy, not stupid.”