Say What You Mean, Do What You Say

A number of years ago I brought a colleague, Will Keim, to campus for leadership development work with students as well as faculty and staff who worked closely with those student leaders. Will had served as a campus minister in Corvallis, Oregon (Oregon State University) and had witnessed numerous occasions when a student or group of students responded to a situation in a less than appropriate manner. He is the first person I heard use the expression, “Say what you mean, do what you say.”

I think that many occasions could be summarized as, “they should have known better.” Well, they did know better but, unfortunately, when the situation presented itself, they went off script. Their initial reply had all the ingredients to suggest a successful outcome but, between the verbal reply and the physical delivery, something went dreadfully wrong.

For example, when you ask college students if they understand the consequences of drinking and driving or the consequences of binge drinking, the vast majority will clearly respond that they do. Then, some of those same students will be in attendance at a friend’s funeral who they allowed to drive after drinking.

I use this general example to point out the fact that we need to remember that there is a consequence for all we say or do. Dr. Keim writes in “The Education of Character” that you make choices daily in each situation you encounter and every choice is important. He writes, “Life is not a dress rehearsal.” As you journey through life and you have time to reflect, you prefer ‘no regrets.’

He also writes that in life “there can be great pain and sadness. We all know some form of pain but we also know the Spirit. We cannot only survive the pain but we can use it to grow.”

Our friend Francine sent me this. “Whatever we’re going through, the Holy Spirit fills us. We have to have hope and keep our heads up. We are not powerless. God is working through us and in us.”

My close to home Say what you mean, do what you say involves our twins, Tom and Sara. In Junior High School they had afternoon newspaper routes. They had an agreement with their customers to have the newspaper delivered each afternoon by 5:00. Without fail, Sara completed her route by 5:00 even if she had to run and deliver the last few papers to beat the 5:00 deadline. Sometimes she actually sprinted.

Tom had a different issue. He tried out for Junior High basketball and made the team which meant the 5:00 deadline was impossible as practice lasted until 5:00. So, he sent a notice to each of his customers informing them of the change and for them to call him if there was a problem.

On the last night of basketball, he delivered a second notice saying that normal schedule would return the following Monday. Well, on Monday he returned home at 5:10 with a gash above his eye that would take six stitches to repair. When I asked him what happened, he said he had 10 papers and 10 minutes before the 5:00 deadline when he wrecked his bike and hit his head. He said he went into the clubhouse at the complex, looked into the mirror and realizing he wasn’t going to bleed to death, finished the route with a minute to spare. I then took him for the stitches.

I had just been shown an example of “Say what you mean, do what you say,” by two 13-year olds.

I just spent the last three days going between Methodist and IU Hospitals with some bacteria in my blood. I had a fever of 103 on Sunday, went to the Emergency Room at Methodist, they sent me home, and brought me back on Monday morning, I stayed overnight on at IU on Monday. I was there to receive continuous antibiotic IV’s. Needless to say, I missed this Monday’s infusion. They sent me home Tuesday afternoon with oral antibiotics and I should return to my chemo schedule next Monday.

Stay Strong! Keep on keeping on.