Father Sez

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A penny for your thoughts

Friday March 13th, 2009 by fathersez

This is an often made statement in everyday conversation.

Have we ever wondered how deep a meaning this statement holds? 

Last week, a lady currently embroiled in a highly public spat with her former mentor, a powerful Malaysian politician made this statement: 

“I was given a party post. At the various meetings, I’ll just keep quiet and watch the rest of the faces at the table, and wonder just exactly what they were thinking about.” 

This statement made quite a deep impression on me. No one knows what anyone else’s thoughts are.  

For example, I may be having a discussion with my daughter. My feelings are that she is weak in a particular subject in school and should ask for help. She refuses and keeps on saying that she is all right. I get more concerned and become more forceful in my “persuasion”. She on the other hand just clamps up. 

I may be at a bank and see some old people coming forward with a tattered and well worn savings book to either deposit or withdraw some money. I may think that these people must be living very frugally and be very careful with their money. In actual fact, this person could be the owner of several acres of banana plantations and make more money in a month that I would in six. 

Yesterday I spent some time with a dear friend who is about to undergo some delicate surgery. He has done all the required tests and the surgery is to be done by the best surgeon in Malaysia. He is well taken care of in the hospital with his wife and his 3 sisters by his bed all the time. I did wonder exactly what his thoughts were, just as he might have wondered what mine were. 

I was praying for the best of what is good for him. I have no idea what his thoughts were. Last night I tossed and turned again wondering about this. Perhaps he was thinking of his family (he has provided well for them), thinking about the uncompleted parts of his dreams, and thinking about what he should do differently after his surgery. 

Daily we go about our lives, each of us with our own thoughts, thoughts about our problems, thoughts about our successes, thoughts about the next pressing things we should do etc. The people standing next to us or even the people nearest and dearest to us have no idea. 

We are told, “Seek first to understand and then to be understood”. “We have been given two ears and one mouth, there is a reason for this”.  We are told to ask and slowly draw out the feelings and real thoughts of the other person.  

Well, I for one am going to make a stronger effort to adopt Dr. Covey’s 3rd Habit as a daily affair. It may not be of much use in a case of understanding the person next to us in a bank, but should help us when we deal directly with others.  

We all should!    

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2 Comments for “A penny for your thoughts”

On March 16, 2009
At 2:06 am

This is a very thought-provoking post. I had never seen the saying like that before. But you’re 100% right, my thoughts are my own and I cherish that about them sometimes. It makes it hard for me to write some stories I come up with because they’ve become so precious to me that I feel writing them would cheapen them.

I often find myself wishing I knew what other people were really thinking…as you say, listening is the best first step. And perhaps also accepting that their thoughts are their own and they may not want to share everything with us.

On March 16, 2009
At 7:44 am

Hi, Mrs. M,

Thank you for your feedback. “Precious” is one reason some of us keep our thoughts to ourselves. There are many more reasons.

There must be a good reason why God did not give us the power to read other’s thoughts as one of our senses.


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