Wednesday, January 1

Teaching Moment.

I don't know about your parents, but my parents LOVED teaching moments.

My brothers and I always knew we were about to have a teaching moment when our mom would get an excited smile and nudge our dad, then make a facial expression that loosely translated to "come on—don't you remember? We read about this in that childhood development class 15 years ago and we've been waiting every day since then to finally use this! IT'S HAPPENING!"

One Sunday at the dinner table when I was around 13 I made some smart aleck remark about a girl from church—I don't remember what it was. My mom got the look on her face and went to find a ketchup packet from our junk drawer.

She squirted it out on to a plate and said "put it all back in the packet."

She and my dad were so damned pleased with themselves.

Being stubborn, I actually started trying to put it back in the packet. My brothers got in on it by taking it on as challenge, helping me figure out how we could open it wider and insert the ketchup.

A few minutes passed and my mom was clearly frustrated we were missing the point: YOU CAN'T PUT IT ALL BACK IN!

Once something is said, it's said. You can't take it back—it exists now, planted in the head of anyone who heard you (and then to whoever they repeat it to).

If I could get everyone in the conservative movement together in a room, with a smug look and a ketchup packet, I'd try to impart this wisdom upon them.

Because they need it.

If you've spoken badly about someone and damaged their reputation, a private apology isn't enough—no matter how sincere.

Yes, it helps, but it's not enough. Once you've spoken something into existence or repeated a story you heard about someone, you've carried on something that can never be taken back.

Is it really that hard?

If you're not speaking life into someone, what's the point of talking?