Thursday, September 11, 2014

Missed Messages


If you ever attend any sort of school in-service, one topic that invariably arises is parental communication. Especially at a private school, staying in touch with parents, which in our case is the clientele, is of utmost importance. Methods of staying connected are constantly being updated. E-mails are the overwhelming choice of most exchanges of information. They're quick and don't require a phone which is good for me as I sometimes go a week at times without turning mine on. Earlier this week our faculty received via e-mail the latest communication tool at our disposal. Now, when we receive a phone message, it is sent directly to our WCS e-mail account and we can listen to it online. How cool is that? That very day, there was a message to call a lady who left her name and two numbers. I couldn't quite catch her name and neither could Minna, my teacher's aide. I was pretty sure her first name was Kelly and I called her back soon after I got home. It turned out to be a false alarm- she'd been told I was in charge of our 8th grade trip to Washington D.C. in the spring but in reality, it's Annette Turner. I did extend to Kelly, a very nice lady, my gratitude for allowing me to learn how the new system works. There has to be a first for everything!

The next morning, as I checked my school e-mail, I noticed another voice mail alert- my total was up to two! I played it but found the message very disturbing. The lady from my dentist's office informed that Dr. Campbell was sick and would not be able to see me the next day! Rapidly, I began backtracking my mental list of appointments and was positive I didn't have dental visit scheduled that morning- Dr. Campbell's office is in downtown Houston and would require my getting a sub for my early classes, even though I always try to get in at 7 AM. I looked back at the computer screen and saw it included the date/time of the message from Dr. Campbell- 12:45 PM, Wednesday, December 5, 2012. I sketchily recall going in early one morning and the staff being so apologetic but it's been almost two years now. WHEW- I breathed a sigh of relief and returned to my school routine.

Can you guess why I never received that message? I don't remember the date or anything about it but I can tell you why- I simply stopped checking voice mail. I would go weeks and months without any messages so I just quit checking. I can't blame my dentist or his staff- they called the number I put in my files. I just stopped listening. Jesus often bracketed parables with the words, He who has ears, let him hear. After the Parable of the Sower in Matthew 13, Jesus quoted Isaiah when asked by His men why he taught in parables:
'For this people’s heart has become calloused;
    they hardly hear with their ears,
    and they have closed their eyes.
Otherwise they might see with their eyes,
    hear with their ears,
    understand with their hearts
and turn, and I would heal them.’
My issue was that, just like the Savior's audience, I quit listening. I've found there are two types of kids. both players and students, who listen closely to what I say: those who really want to learn and those who desperately don't want to get left behind in what I'm teaching. The others? They are bored or think they already know it or they simply don't care. Some of the latter group will be quite surprised in several years when they discover something they vaguely remember me (or their folks or another teacher or coach or preacher) saying having merit and they try to recreate it mentally as it now has value to them. Like me, it would have been so much simpler to listen the first time around. Being hard of hearing isn't only a malady of the aged. It's a choice when you're young.

Applicable quote of the day:
What a lot we lost when we stopped writing letters. You can't reread a phone call.
Liz Carpenter 

God bless,
Steve
Luke 18:1
www.hawleybooks.com
E-mail me at steve@hawleybooks.com

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