Tag Archives: wisdom

Answer the Question!

As I was browsing some folders while doing some research I came across an old blog that grabbed my attention. I’ve reworked it for this week. In a time when leaders – and others – are masters at avoiding or changing the question, this is an important issue.

The blog resulted from a ‘news feature’ – and I use the term ‘news’ loosely – which focused on a mother and her 6 year old daughter. Mom was proud as a peacock of her entertainment star daughter. That’s right – six years old and already pouring hours of time and most all her energy into being a stage star. She does energetic, wild routines on stage – in performances and competition. While that raises a number of issues for me, I want to focus on just one aspect of the story.

The report revealed that mother, in order to give her daughter adequate energy for her performances, had concocted a special ‘juice’ for her. The juice was composed of two parts – Mountain Dew and Red Bull energy drink. In other words, pump her full of caffeine and sugar.







I have no doubt that it would give her energy! I also have no doubt that there will eventually be potentially long term, negative consequences. Both caffeine and sugar, in large amounts, destroy the body. My heart, in fact, was pierced when the video showed the young girl raising her shirt and grabbing onto the rolls of fat on her stomach – all with a smile on her face and a giggle in her voice.

Not surprisingly this issue became the focus of the report. When asked by the reporter about health concerns, the mother calmly, and defensively, replied that there are many moms whose daughters aren’t on stage performing who give the same to their daughters – so why, she mused, should anyone pick on her. A nice sleight of hand – or of voice – but she never answered the question. Now there are only two reasons not to answer a question. One – you don’t know the answer. Two – you don’t have an answer that is right or makes sense. So if you don’t know it, admit that maybe you should find out; perhaps there’s a good reason it was asked. And if you don’t have a good sensible answer, then perhaps it’s time to find one.

It appeared to me that this mother really knew the reporter might have had a legitimate concern but was not ready to let go of the popularity of her daughter for the sake of her daughter’s health and future. But if something is harmful, it’s harmful whether we want to admit it or not. So I say “When you’re asked a question, answer the question.” It’s for your own good.

While it would be appropriate to launch into Paul’s admonition about the body being the temple of the Holy Spirit, I’d rather stick to the point about a mother’s careless disregard for her child’s health and well-being. Proverbs says it best. (10:10) “…a chattering fool comes to ruin.” (12:15-16, 23) “Fools are headstrong and do what they like…fools show their annoyance at once…fools broadcast their foolishness…” (14:24) “…foolishness leads to more foolishness.” “When you’re asked a question, answer the question.”

I felt sorry for this mother – I’m sure she loved her daughter. But either she didn’t get it – which is truly sorrowful – or she did and didn’t care – which is even sorrier. But I felt even more sorrow for her daughter – she was the victim in all of this. Unless things changed, she paid the price for mom’s refusal to seriously answer a fair and serious question. That’s why it is so important that “When you’re asked a question, answer the question.”

So what questions have you been avoiding or failing to answer lately? Perhaps it’s time to stop being foolish and answer them. After all “…a wise man listens to advice.” (Prov. 12:15) Such listening might just be good for you – and for those you love and influence. “When you’re asked a question, answer the question.”

It’s All About the Numbers

I admit it at the outset – I am a big fan of the Michigan Wolverines. But I write today not so much but as a fan as an observer of life. You have probably heard the moving, emotional, inspirational story of the plane crash that preceded their current run through the Big Ten and NCAA tournaments. The news has been filled with accounts of how the coaches, players and their families have been deeply impacted by the crash.

It’s not surprising that for all of them, life now has a different, or at least sharper focus. As I listened to and read these accounts my mind recalled Psalm 90:12 – “Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.”

It would be nice to know the number of our days – or would it? Would it make a difference if you knew the number of your days? How would it change your life? If you knew for certain that you had 30,000 days, what impact would it have on how you live this day? If you knew for certain that you had 30 days, what impact would it have on how you live this day? My guess is knowing the number of days we have impacts how we spend our time today. It really is all about the numbers. The more days we know we have the less likely we are to focus on the really essential things of life today.

The late Zig Ziglar liked to talk about how much we accomplish on the days immediately preceding vacation. We know time is short and certain things have to be done – so we exercise great discipline and accomplish a tremendous amount of essential work in those days – much more than normal. His point was that we should treat every day as the day before vacation and accomplish much more than we currently do.

Isn’t that really the point of the Psalmist? Did he really want to know the number of his days? Or was he pointing out the benefit of not knowing? If we do not know how many days we have we are much more prone to make today count – to focus more clearly on the really essential things of life. That’s why I like the Contemporary English Version of Psalm 90:12 – “Teach us to use wisely all the time we have.” It’s really not about the numbers, is it? It’s really about how serious we are about making each day count.

Here’s what we know for sure. We do not know the number of our days and we do not determine the number of our days. Therefore each day is a gift of grace. As the Amplified Version states it, “Lord, let me know my [life’s] end And [to appreciate] the extent of my days…” It really doesn’t matter if we don’t know how many days we have – we have today. Value it as a blessing; live it with gratitude; fill it with purpose. As the Gaithers sang years ago:

Hold tight to the sound of the music of living,
Happy songs from the laughter of children at play;
Hold my hand as we run through the sweet fragrant meadows,
Making mem’ries of what was today.

Tiny voice that I hear is my little girl calling,
For Daddy to hear just what she has to say;
And my little son running there by the hillside,
May never be quite like today.

Tender words, gentle touch and a good cup of coffee,
And someone that loves me and wants me to stay;
Hold them near while they’re here and don’t wait for tomorrow,
To look back and wish for today.

Take the blue of the sky and the green of the forest,
And the gold and the brown of the freshly mown hay;
Add the pale shades of spring and the circus of autumn,
And weave you a lovely today.

Chorus: We have this moment to hold in our hands
and to touch as it slips through our fingers like sand;
Yesterday’s gone and tomorrow may never come,
But we have this moment today.

Plane Crash Photo from:  http://www.mlive.com/wolverines/index.ssf/2017/03/details_and_descriptions_of_mi.html