Wisdom in Silence

This past week someone asked me to consider the main quality of a good boss and those of a good employee.  It was easy to immediately respond the first question.  In my opinion, to be in a position of leadership one needs to communicate well.  Good communication enables things to run a lot smoother in the work environment.  No doubt, I believe it should be a two-way street, but the words of an employee should be minimum.  Quite frankly, I have learned that the more I silent the better.  The Bible says in Proverbs 10:19 When words are many, transgression is not lacking, but whoever restrains his lips is prudent.

Thinking of someone who inspires me about not talking unnecessarily and being an excellent employee the first person who comes to mind is my baby sister.  I know I may sound cocky when mentioning my siblings but I am really blessed for having such wonderful people in my family.  What can I say?  Good roots bring forth good fruits.  I praise God for my parents!  My dad was naturally a quiet man.  He was a man of just a few words.  My mom, on the other hand, liked to talk quite a lot.  But that doesn’t mean she didn’t teach me about the matter.  And on her last conscious days on this earth she taught me the greatest lesson on the subject. She could talk but she chose not to and her silence spoke more than I can describe.  “A prudent man conceals knowledge, but the heart of fools proclaims folly” (Proverbs 12:23).

Beatriz Valadão is my younger sister.  She is a wife, a mom, and a first time granny.  Through the years I have learned a lot from her.  She stirs in me the desire to be a better person in so many ways.  Today I want to say a few things I learned from her as an employee.  I had the privilege of working with her at the Dallas Post Office.  We were RCA (Rural Carrier Associate), or substitutes to the regular carriers.  When I joined the post office Beatriz was already there.  They call her Bee, but my siblings and I call her Bê since we were little.  I am so thankful for all she did and still does for me.  At the post office, she blessed me with so many tips and helping hands on those desperate first days on the job.  I observed her every time I had a chance and I always ran to her asking for instructions and guidance.  She’s smart in figuring out the best way of doing things in an effective and timely manner.  Bee seemed so confident and always encouraged me even on my lowest moments.

As a substitute, Bee was envied by all regular carriers.  They knew whatever route she worked on it would be an easy one the next day.  She’s not only a hard worker but also a servant of the Lord who blesses all those around her.  She is a helper, a giver, and an example.  Proverbs 31:20 describes her constant attitude “She opens her arms to the poor and extends her hands to the needy.”  Walking the extra mile is something she does continuously.  It’s a part of who she is.  Recently, Bee was promoted to regular carrier.  No doubt, one of the best regulars the post office will ever have.  She’s diligent, reliable, and a pleasant person to work with.   I’m still learning from her and trying to achieve her work ethics.  But the biggest lesson for me has been to guard my lips.

The way she reacts to bad comments about fellow workers is an example to be imitated.  She is silent.  She changes the subject and breaks a chain that can destroy others.  Everyday Beatriz puts to practice what is written in Proverbs 15:1, A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger”, and in Ecclesiastes 4:29, “Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear”.  When she opens her mouth it sure serves the purpose of causing good to others.

Several verses in the Bible teach about how much we should restrain our words.  One text in particular, James 3:2-6, gives three good analogies, For we all stumble in many ways. And if anyone does not stumble in what he says, he is a perfect man, able also to bridle his whole body. If we put bits into the mouths of horses so that they obey us, we guide their whole bodies as well. Look at the ships also: though they are so large and are driven by strong winds, they are guided by a very small rudder wherever the will of the pilot directs. So also the tongue is a small member, yet it boasts of great things. How great a forest is set ablaze by such a small fire! And the tongue is a fire, a world of unrighteousness. The tongue is set among our members, staining the whole body, setting on fire the entire course of life, and set on fire by hell”.  No wonder God created us with a pair of eyes and a pair of ears, but only one tongue.

I’m progressing in this area of my life.  I don’t want to be considered a fool because of my words.  Ecclesiastes 10:14 says, “A fool multiplies words”, and Proverbs 18:2 says, “A fool takes no pleasure in understanding, but only in expressing his opinion”.  I want wisdom coming out of my mouth and my sister Beatriz has set biblical standards I can follow.

“Whoever keeps his mouth and his tongue keeps himself out of trouble” (Proverbs 21:23).

“Whoever guards his mouth preserves his life; he who opens wide his lips comes to ruin” (Proverbs 13:3).

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