Making the Effort to Care
When it’s obvious you don’t care
People don’t care what you know, they want to know that you care! That saying was brought to mind recently when I passed a V.I.P a couple of weeks ago. As our eyes made contact I said “Hey” with a smile and he said “How’s it going?” It was a cold day in Michigan and I had not been in the building long. “I am freezing”, I offered. “That’s good” was his reply. That little exchange got me asking the question again Does anyone really care?
Changing the Script
What messed the whole thing up is I didn’t stay with the script. If I had said the standard “fine” that was written on my Q-Card everything would have run smoothly. He stuck to his script, why didn’t I stick to mine? The answer of course was that I actually thought someone cared. By his response I saw that running into me was an inconvenience that interrupted his thought process.
Ways of avoiding confrontations and what we are saying
There are ways to avoid these confrontations that people use. Avoid eye contact when you’re passing someone, mess with your cell phone or just look the other way. What you are telling the person is “you are not important and don’t bother me”. Or you could move your lips without your voice into a hi form. This is saying “you’re important enough to acknowledge but not important enough to make an audible sound”. Then there is the typical “How is it going?” which usually means, I don’t really care so just say fine.
The results of not caring enough
The sad part is that I have been guilty of the same type of thing. A persons name is very important to them! So many times I have been guilty of completely forgetting someone’s name. It can happen when I know their name but happen to run into them unexpectedly and can’t pull their name up. That situation is somewhat excusable. The one that isn’t is when I have been introduced to someone and never bothered to know their name. Worse yet is if they start calling me by name and I don’t know theirs. If you are like me at that point you are making every effort to find out their name!
Caring takes effort
The best way to show you care in those passing moments is by using the name of the person you’re passing. “Hi Frank, How are you?”, with a smile and then actually listening to his response. Of course you have to know that his name is Frank and it helps to know a little about him. That is where the effort of caring comes in. If you really do care you will show it with preparation. Just as you would prepare for a test because you care how you do, preparing for caring is just as important! Preparation is the state of having made ready beforehand. It’s like practicing your free throws before you are confronted with the situation in the big game. Or it’s like studying for the big test before the big test. Anticipating the questions and the answers before they come up. We take a lot of time preparing for these type of things and yet making the effort to care is usually disregarded.
Programming your mind
Don’t make the mistake of saying “I can never remember names”, or “I am not good at remembering names”. In those statements you are programming your mind to not make the effort because it will fail anyway. Your mind is like a giant computer. We’ve all filled it with worthless information and trivia. Now use it in a positive way to show you care, instead of just mouthing the words!
The First Introduction
A key moment in remembering names is when we are first introduced to someone. How many times do they walk out and we are saying, “Now what was his name again?’ The fact is we were not paying attention. We had our minds on something else or what we were going to say. We didn’t think of their name or associate it with anything. Instead concentrate on the name and the face. When they leave, if at all possible, write their names down. Make a list of that person’s name, what they look like and something about them. Keep a little book of names and information about them. It has been proven that by writing things down you are more apt to remember.
Preparing for the name test
Prepare yourself for names of people you may come into contact with. Check your little book, review your names and put a face to them. Very rarely do you hear someone say “the name is familiar but I didn’t recognize the face”. Review what you wrote earlier about their job, where they live etc. The more you dwell on the caring effort the more you will remember!
Something to think about
How does all of this talk about remembering names and caring relate to our christian walk? Well the fact is that if the church is not reaching out and helping people around it, it is failing. It is past the time for “feel good” services. Is caring an inconvenience that interrupts our plans and ideas? When the church asks the world, “how’s it going?”, it needs to be prepared for the reality of the answer, stop and listen with interest, and make the effort to care.