The Spoken Word


“I’m busy. Don’t bother me now”

“The Spoken Word“ from Temple Square, presented over KSL and the Columbia Broadcasting System January 31, 1971. © 1971 by Richard L. Evans.

We often are aware of impatience with other people’s questions, with other people’s problems—with an obvious “I’m busy, don’t-bother-me-now” attitude. But, “How do we know,” as one perceptive writer said, “but that the interruption we snarl at is the most blessed thing that has come to us in long days?” 1 All people have problems, all children have questions, and they need to go somewhere for answers, or often just to talk. They need to know that someone will listen, that someone is concerned. And their problems, their questions, are important to them or they wouldn’t ask—and important to us also, whether we know it or not. And if we assume what could be called the “Go-away, don’t-bother-me-now” attitude, they will go elsewhere—or shrink within themselves. Parents sometimes simply don’t have enough hands and time and attention to do all that is urgent. But in all things there is a priority of importance, and the course of life is somewhat shaped by the responses we receive from other people and by our attention or inattention to them. And one of our urgent opportunities is to respond to a child when he earnestly asks, remembering that they don’t always ask, that they aren’t always teachable, that they won’t always listen. And often we have to take them on their terms, at their times, and not always on our terms, and at our times. But if we respond to them with sincere attention and sincere concern, they will likely continue to come to us and ask. And if they find that they can trust us with their trivial questions, they may later trust us with more weighty ones. Young people are going to go to someone, somewhere. And we had better see that that “someone” is “us,” when the opportunity is ours, for there will come a time when we will wish they would come, and how do we know but that the interruption we now impatiently put off may be the most important thing we could be doing at this particular time? Busy fathers, busy mothers—busy with things sometimes more and sometimes less essential—avoid the “go-away, I’m-busy, don’t-bother-me-now” attitude.

    Note

  1.   1.

    Anna R. Lindsay, Ph.D., What Is Worth While?

Beauty and morality

“The Spoken Word” from Temple Square, presented over KSL and the Columbia Broadcasting System February 21, 1971. © 1971 by Richard L. Evans.

We cite here three short sentences to help present a point. One is from Frank Lloyd Wright, who said, “Beauty is the highest expression of morality.” The second is from Plautus: “I regard that man as lost who has lost his sense of shame.” 1 And the third is from Juvenal: “The worst punishment of all is that in the court of his own conscience no guilty man is acquitted.” 2 These three short sentences may bring to mind the moral looseness that has overtaken us in our times, and the feeling some seem to have that the commandments have somehow been repealed, or replaced; that the moral laws are old-fashioned; that consequences no longer follow doing what we shouldn’t do—in short, that standards are no longer necessary. There is no experience in all history, there is no assurance from any source that says that this is so. And we should be most grateful for moral standards, for the experience of the past, and for the laws that God has given, because they give us guidelines—means by which to weigh and measure—and the certainty that consequences will always follow causes. Without such laws and standards we would all be left loose in life, not knowing when we would be acceptable—to God, to others, or even acceptable to ourselves. Despite all enticement and temptation to abuse the body, to cloud the mind, to weaken the will, to debase the soul, there are still standards; laws, commandments; causes, consequences; results to be realized, depending on how we live the laws of life. “Beauty is the highest expression of morality.” Morality is also the highest expression of beauty—and without these there is ugliness everywhere. “The worst punishment of all is that in the court of his own conscience no guilty man is acquitted.” “I regard that man as lost who has lost his sense of shame.”

    Notes

  1.   1.

    Plautus (254–184 B.C.), Rom. poet.

  2.   2.

    Juvenal (60–140), Rom. satirical poet.