There are people in our lives we listen to even if we disagree with their message. One day I witnessed such an encounter. I don't agree with how the lady in question handled the situation but I was impressed with the influence she must have banked over the decades.This is from January of 2011.
Yesterday morning, I went to my nearby Chase Bank branch. I needed to cash a reimbursement check from using my car in transporting players to basketball games. I was next in line when I witnessed a scene unlike any other in my memory, and I have a pretty good memory. The lady in front of me was, I would estimate, about sixty years of age. She was summoned to a teller and as she was conducting her business, the teller in the next lane called out to her. He was mid-twenties, well groomed, and dressed professionally. It was obvious they knew each other. She said hello but then something caught her eye; the young man was wearing earrings in both ears. Immediately, the woman asked in a questioning voice, "Does you mother know you have those in your ears?" I could not hear what he said in reply but I could tell he was embarrassed. She moved over to his window......and let him have it. This went on for about thirty seconds or so and then she left. Several of us were smiling sheepishly about the situation as if we had eavesdropped into a private matter. But when I looked back up at the young man, there was no bling in his earlobes. The lady had made her point.
I have nothing against guys wearing jewelry in their ears even if it isn't my preference. Times and styles have changed in the last twenty years and now it's common. I know some of our male students have their ears pierced but don't wear earrings to school due to our dress code. Still, it caught me off guard to hear an issue made of it in a public place. But, this entry is not about earrings or the right to dress as we please. This entry is about standing. Maybe- and some would say definitely- that lady was out of line to make a big deal about the earrings. Her young friend was within the bank's dress code policy and most of us did not even pay attention to what he was wearing...but she did. As a customer, she had absolutely no right to question what he was wearing. But as a family friend, she felt it was her prerogative and maybe even her duty to bring the matter out into the open. The young man complied because that lady matters to him, or at least to his mother. He listened because she had influence and he cares what she thinks. In Ruth 2, Boaz is described as a man of standing, a person whose opinion mattered. That's what that woman is to that young man. She was not afraid to tell him her belief and he was sufficiently humble to listen. We all need that one little old lady to call us out when needed, someone whose judgement we respect and with whom we have a history. Conversely, we need to be like Boaz to others, often younger than we are who need a little bit of guidance.... and maybe a slightly smaller display of jewelry. My life has been aided by those kind of people; I hope I can pass on the blessing. Better stay out of the bank!
Applicable quote of the day:
“Me carrying a briefcase is like a hot dog wearing earrings.”
Sparky Anderson (baseball manager, Detroit Tigers and Cincinnati Reds)
E-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org