I was about middle school age when my parents gave me a Christmas gift that I dearly loved. It was a portable tape recorder. No, not a cassette deck, but a small reel-to-reel recorder—the kind that used super small reels-each about 3 inches in diameter.
Yep, I was stylin’ with this baby, with all its pure state-of-the-art goodness. (Hey, it was a technological wonder…for the early ‘60s.) It even came with its own hand-held wired microphone.
I found myself absorbed with this tool, and I used it almost every day, recording songs off the radio through that mic. I quickly filled up a number of reels of tape, especially on New Year’s Day, when our local rock radio station played the top 100 songs of the year.
But one of my favorite uses for this recorder was reserved for another purpose: recording interviews with my relatives. It’s funny…I had no idea a day would ever come when I would host my own talk radio show for real.
I am pretty confident that I drove my family members crazy, doing my “roving reporter” routine. I would give them the “man-on-the-street” treatment, asking the craziest of questions, and sticking that mic right up to their mouths until they responded.
I remember that my grandmother was so sweet and patient, always complying with my requests for a statement. My granddad? Well, that was another story completely. I worked hard at getting him to even look at me, much less answer. But occasionally he would join in on the act.
Those experiences proved to be formative in my young life. I found early on that I enjoyed hearing my family’s perspective. Even though I was immature and naïve, this exercise with my fun tape deck opened a vista in my life that I now so appreciate.
You see, in doing those early interviews, I learned that there was joy to be found in hearing the perspectives and experiences of another person.
Life happens to us all, in real time. But many do not take the time to really listen to others. Human nature has a way of filling up our days with our own agendas, to the point that we can miss out on actually listening to what others have to say, hearing their heart on issues, and empathizing with their concerns.
James 1:19 (ESV) says this:
“Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger…”
How different our world would be if we followed the simple, yet challenging advice contained in that one single verse. How much more peace we could enjoy if we talked less and listened more? You heard that here, from your roving reporter, now signing off.