A snapshot in time
by Jim Ruth Bradley County Sheriff
Nov 24, 2013 | 518 views | 0 0 comments | 4 4 recommendations | email to a friend | print
The Banner publishes snapshots that different readers in the area submit. Wildlife, rural scenes, peoples, pets, oceans, deserts and many other interesting pictures are featured.

It is a good thing that these folks share this part of their lives that make them happy, joyous and even introspective.

When people cross our lives’ pathway, too often that is all we get, a snapshot. Our feelings toward them and even our judgment of the quality of their character is made from what we subconsciously see and hear.

Now, there are many people who can size up a person very quickly and get it right most of the time. In law enforcement it is a real plus when you have that gift or ability to size up a person and know if they are being truthful with you.

As I pondered on developing the ability to fairly assess a person, my mind went back to some lessons I learned as a child in Sunday school. “From the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh.” Also, I was taught that the “judge” at the end of this age is going to judge us by what comes out of our mouths.

In time I learned what that means is when a man says, “I love my kids and wife,” but he does not feed them, clothe or provide shelter for them, then his mouth speaks not of love; instead he is deceitful and lying. He does not love, regardless of how much he speaks of love. His lifestyle betrays his words.

The famous life coach Dale Carnegie said even a young child discerns cheap, contrived, flattery.

There is a school of thought in law enforcement circles that says a guilty person will inadvertently confess to a crime when they are properly interviewed. This theory says the suspect will answer the questions with his own words that are tantamount to a confession. Again, “From the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh.”

There are some law enforcement officers who are very effective because of the power of their own personality. Part of that power is they are very good listeners. They also are keenly aware when something is germane or otherwise very important to the case at hand is spoken.

The national pundits and commentators are having a heyday accusing the president and a number of congressional leaders of misleading the nation and even lying to us about the national heath care law. There are some in leadership roles who believe it is OK to lie, as long as it serves their greater purpose.

The problem with this line of thinking is when you take it to its final conclusion, we would have utter chaos in business and government.

Back to the snapshot: One of my friends who is now retired tells of recently reconnecting with a girl she graduated with in high school. This girl was a wallflower in school, a real ugly duckling. Her teeth (nor her eyes) were straight back in those days.

My friend’s recent encounter with the ugly duckling was a wonderful experience. As it has turned out, she now looks like a princess and is very beautiful. This shy duckling is now a beautiful, sophisticated lady. Maybe there is still hope for some of the rest of us.

Another of my friends, who is retired now, was one of the most popular kids in his high school. After attending some reunions he has commented, “The ones who were genuine and solid people back in school turned out to be good, solid adults. The pretentious, fake people — con men — sadly did not change as adults. He has had contact with many of his classmates since those school days decades ago. He found out that one who was a thief and liar then is still a thief and liar.

Let me say, we do have the power to change for the better. Too many are not willing to grow or make the sacrifice to step higher. It has been said that when a living thing stops growing, decay and death set in.

The many challenges and detours in life are opportunities to grow or excuses to wither and decay. Young and old, we all have a role to fill. Even residents in a nursing home can continue to give by kind words, a smile or some helpful advice for the seeker. Residents of public housing have a lot to give to their family, neighbors and community as well.

They find that the upside of giving is much more satisfying than receiving. (A businessman who lived in two housing projects growing up shared this with me.) He would know.

What does a snapshot of you today show? Are we looking for a better day and a better way? What are your spoken words saying about you!? Join me in my seeking to grow to be a better spouse, parent, grandparent, neighbor and citizen.

Again, thanks for reading.