Saturday, October 2, 2010

Keep Your Mouth Shut

My mother told me to keep my mouth shut, but I don't.  She said you will get in more trouble for what you say than for what you don't.  She was right.

My uncle told me a story about himself and his brothers.  He said his father would correct him and the brothers or gripe at them about something.  The three of them each had a different response.  Their names were Ed, Mack, and Jimmie. 

Ed was the oldest.  When his father corrected him, Ed did not respond.  He just hung his head in shame. 

His father said, "Look at me.  Do you hear what I'm saying.  I told you not to do that."

Ed just nodded and dropped his head again.  No matter how angry or serious the infraction, there was nothing else to say.

With Mack, things were more fun from the observers point of view.  When Mack committed an infraction, his father would tell him where he erred.

"But Papa, I didn't mean to do that.  I just want to..."

"Mack, I told you not to do that.  You do this every time I tell you not to, you just have to do it anyway."

"No, Papa, that's not the way it happened.  I tried to fix it and then it slipped anyway."  By this time Papa's anger was mounting to explosive ranges.
"Mack, get over here and fix this and don't do this again."
"But Papa, I can't fix it now..."
"Get out of my way, Mack; you are useless.  Now you get your hoe and get to work."

Jimmie did get corrected, but he used a different response.  When he made a mistake in working in the field or with the cow, he just owned up.
"Jimmie, I told you not to let the cow out."
"Yes sir, I'm going to get her back right now.  Should I let her loose in the lot or tie her up?"
"She's all right in the lot."

Ed's infraction may have been the worst of the bunch, but he didn't get much yelling while Mack got yelled at for a long time because of his defense.  Jimmie tried to see what his father's goal was.  His questions were focused on his father's intention.  Let's all remember this is all from Jimmie's viewpoint.  I'm not absolutely sure he was as good as he reported.  He did have great respect for his father though.

1 comment:

Fickle Cattle said...

I'm like that. I always get in trouble because of my big mouth.

I am Fickle Cattle.