I remember spending hours collecting soda-pop bottles from alongside the road and returning them to the store for two cents apiece. It didn’t matter how long my friends and I were out. We’d be gone on our bikes for hours with one goal in mind: to stand in front of the general store counter and peer up to all the colors and wonders that were held in the clear glass jars.
We’d bring our bicycle baskets filled to the top with dirty bottles so the general store owner could reward us for our stash. We’d then used our newly found fortune to buy penny candy: Pixy Stix, BB Bats, Banana Kits Taffy, Root Beer Barrels, or Button Candy.
I’m happy I grew up when I did. I rode my bike with my friends from sun up until lunch, only to leave again and return for dinner. We’d catch lightning bugs in the evenings by the jar full, or chase grasshoppers through the fields during the day.
But what I remember most were the conversations. People cared about what others thought and listened to differing
opinions. I learned from watching adults around me that different didn’t mean bad, it just meant … different. I learned humility—that I wasn’t always the authority I thought I was. I learned that respect was freely given, and it was theirs to be lost. I learned to offer a neighbor a helping hand when it was needed, because it was always needed.
I watched Philippians 2:3 in action, “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves”.
I think people are still searching for what I experienced years ago. I think that’s why so many people follow social media and throw in their two cents on topics that interest them. People have things to say. At the same time, people want to be heard. Everyone has opinions that matter to them. My hope is that we take a step back and listen—really listen—to what someone is saying. Who knows, if we listen to one another we may find we’re not the authority we once thought we were.