I drove a 1974 green VW beetle in college. I bought it for $400.00 off of someone who had driven it in college after buying it off of someone for $300.00. Money was a premium back in those days and I thought long and hard about forfeiting over $400.00 that I worked had to attain just so I could go from point A to point B. My Beetle served me well, until it died a slow death 3 years later. Most importantly, the little car-that-could provided me with fond memories. One such memory was scrounging for loose change under the seats of that Bug so that I could make a phone call.
Remember the pay phone? They seemed to be everywhere growing up. Airports, gas stations, corner stores, bus depots. Pay phones back then were as accessible as ATMs are today. For those under 30 reading this post, a quick lesson in pay phone procedures: 1) find a dime 2) insert dime into pay phone slot 3) dial a local number 4) a 3 minute call is placed 5) begin talking; however, since 3 minutes goes fast, you needed to make the most of your time 6) if necessary, insert another dime to extend the 3 minutes.
In today's digital world, we communicate effortlessly and continuously via the internet, tablets, smart phones, and email to name a few all without having to choose our words carefully. If we send a bad email, we send another. A bad tweet? No problem? Just ask for forgiveness in your next tweet some 30 seconds later. My point is that we don't value the art of effective communication anymore. Because we had to search for a pay phone and then pay for the call, we as a society were much more careful with our words because we connected our words with a cost. The cost, partly financial, partly time and partly access, made us stop and think about what to say before we said it.
• Believe that while words can heal, they can also hurt.
• Act by choosing your words carefully. Stop and think about what you are going to say before communicating it to the world
• Serving others with kind words is beneficial because as James 3:18 says, "Peacemakers who sow in peace reap a harvest of righteousness."
While the pay phone may not return to society, I wish people today would bring back the spirit of the pay phone when communicating: our words have a cost so therefore, society should value their impact on others.