[dropcap]Y[/dropcap]ou need to think before you speak,” my friend’s mother once told me.
That’s code for: you’re a bigmouth.
She was right. I had a bad habit of saying things. I used too many words, at too high of volume.
I’ve always had a big mouth. I inherited it biologically from my mother. Mother and I are twins. We’re unable to keep secrets, talk in low tones, or hold our liquor.
We also don’t know a stranger.
I once watched Mother make friends with a homeless man at the grocery store. She struck up a conversation. Then, she bought him a pound of smoked pork, a bottle of orange juice, and gave him fifty dollars. They chatted for nearly an hour.
I think he enjoyed the conversation more than the food.
Additionally, Mother and I can’t keep secrets. The expression is true: telephone, telegraph, tell-a-Dietrich. One Christmas, my mother even revealed which presents she bought me. She warned me to keep it a secret.
But I told my father.
Then I told my Sunday school class.
And then my baseball team.
For the majority of my life, I’ve felt bad about my loudmouth. I wished I could be closed-lipped like some of my friends, but God didn’t make me that way.
Mother once explained it to me in a way that I could grasp:
“Sean,” she said. “Some people use brains, some people use popularity. But people like you use their voice. And there’s a place for people like you.”
Well, there’s a place for people like you too.