What got your name on the board with checkmarks?

When I was in elementary school, all of my classmates would talk when the teacher had her back to the class, and none of them ever got caught. They’d whisper entire 3rd-grade cootie sonnets between the time she turned away from them to write something on the board and the moment she turned back to ask a question.

Me? I couldn’t shake my head quietly in the 3rd grade. I’d get a checkmark by my name the first, second, and third time I tried to participate in the clandestine conversation literally happening on 4 sides of me. The rest of the class would snicker as I hung my head in shame. When I tried to point out that it’s nearly impossible to have a conversation with yourself, the teacher would just add another check. I couldn’t win.

The problem, which persists to this very day (minus the checkmarks) is that I lack an “inside voice.” My whisper is as subtle as a car alarm. “Under my breath” is synonymous with “flock of pigeons.”

I’m as good at being quiet as Steven Tyler is at not looking like a total freakshow. (seriously, that guy is the father of who? I digress.)

If there’s one time in my life that I wished I could have done an “I Dream of Jeannie” nose wiggle and magically have developed an inside voice, it’s the day I met with the Clarks.

We met on a sunday afternoon for a late lunch to talk about my ministry and how they could partner with me. They chose the spot: a little, upscale restaurant in town. I’d never eaten there, but had heard great stuff about it.

First hint of a problem? The hostess was whispering. When she said “Good afternoon, how many are in your party today?” she said it slightly louder than a baby kitten’s purr. I was leaning in, and I still couldn’t tell what she was asking. I smiled and did my best bobble-head impersonation.

Second hint of a problem? I could touch everyone in the place from where I was standing. Seriously, It would have been about 5 steps for me to sample every dish in the room. The place was able to save money on heat by firing up a toaster oven in the corner for about 45 seconds every hour. The owner could have saved more by making the chef double as a waiter. “I’ll bring those drinks right out to you!”

Sounds like a perfect environment to do a support spiel, right? Nothing makes people want to give more than to talk about their personal finances in a crowded, quiet room with a loud-talker. I felt like passing around contact cards to every table in the room and treating it like a small group dinner, after I was all done.

The Clarks didn’t come on my team. I did however get an extra checkmark by my name for talking out of turn.

What’d you get in trouble for as a kid? Comment below!

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