“Listen”

 

Imagine. You’re sitting. Silent. In front of you is one of the Top Ten Speakers of all time. What will he say?

 

Newsweek magazine named Fred Craddock one of the most influential speakers in America. Likely, you have never heard of him.

 

One day, I was with Dr. Craddock. Just he and I.

 

“Dr. Craddock, I’m getting married soon. You have credentials, accomplishments. You’ve been married a long time, a successful marriage. I figure you might have some important wisdom to impart.”

 

“What can I do to have the best marriage possible?” I asked

 

He didn’t say a word. Silence swallowed us. We simply sat. Slowly he leaned toward me. His chair creaked as the aged wood rubbed its joints and broke the silence.

 

Closer.

 

He spoke.

 

One word.

 

“Listen.”

Thanks for coming to our blog. We are honored and appreciate your time. I want to share another set of words from Dr. Craddock. They can be found unabridged at: https://vimeo.com/54325510

 

 Dr Fred Craddock“Tell it!

 

Short, clear, positive, affordable, useful, flexible.

It has an exclamation point.

It is in the imperative. It should be a period.

 

Tell it.

 

It is asking us to take a word and toss it against the clear glass of silence and shatter the silence.

The silence of not knowing what to say. Not knowing what to do. Afraid to speak. Afraid to act.

Tell it, calls us to recognize that the most fundamental difficult task we have is speaking.

 

I don’t know really why that is. In the old days you read, you wrote, and you got up and said it. You didn’t know it until you could say it.

 

In other words, there was built into the American school system a love of and in a sense the necessity of expressing yourself.

 

Expressing yourself. Speaking. But in the course of the years our educational system has put a premium on silence. Read the books, write the papers, take the test and go home.

 

A university graduate recently told me, ‘I went through four years and never said a word. I made good grades, but I never said anything.’

 

I said, ‘What was your major?’

 

He said, ‘Communications.’

 

It is very difficult to speak. To bring it up from the center of your being and say, ‘Yes I will.’ That is absolutely irreplaceable in any time, any culture. So, we make excuses. Deeds, that’s what counts, deeds not words.

A word is the biggest deed we can perform. But it’s difficult. Extremely difficult. Everyday we will say to one another, ‘Well we need to walk the walk, not just talk the talk.’ That’s very fine. I say it myself. But we shouldn’t say it as an excuse for not talking. We talk the talk as well as walk the walk. “

Many of our most vulnerable children suffer in silence – children like those we serve at Boys and Girls Homes of North Carolina.

What will you say?

Pastor Joe Kennedy is our new Director of Pastoral Care and Chaplain of Boys and Girls Homes of North Carolina.

 

Learn more about the services provided by B&GH.

 

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