I like to listen. My wife will tell you I’m not very good at it. But I really do like to listen to the way people say things … and the meaning behind certain words or phrases. I recently tried an experiment. I paid close attention to some of the things we say around the house, and then tried to imagine how different those conversations would be if we were living in a developing country. Think of how these phrases would be different — or non-existent — if we were living in one of the poorest countries of the world:

  • “You wanna go out to eat tonight?”
  • “What would you like for lunch today?”
  • “There’s nothing on TV.”
  • “It’s so nice out…let’s go for a drive with the top down on the Jeep.”
  • “It’s starting to get warm again. We need to think about turning the sprinkler system back on in the yard.”
  • “I need to run to the store to get some more diapers and Diet Coke. Can you think of anything else we need?”
  • “Morgan is outgrowing his clothes so fast, is it okay with you if I go to the store to see if I can find him some new pajamas?”
  • “I’ll empty out the dishwasher.”
  • I’m going to take a shower.”
  • “Feel like ordering a movie?”
  • “The housing market is so bad right now. I don’t know if it’s the right time to sell our home. But we sure need more space.”
  • “I’m starving!”
  • “What would you like for dessert?”

I would bet that most of those phrases are NEVER uttered in the homes of children who attend Compassion child development centers. And the ones that are, are said in a much different context.

Wouldn’t it be interesting to listen in on their conversations for a week?

12 Comments |Add a comment

  1. Tim Glenn April 22, 2008

    Nice Vicki! Yeah, I’ve been known to do some “research” on my personal blog too!

    Have at it. Let us know how it goes. I’d love to hear how the experiment works out.


  2. Vicki Small April 21, 2008

    Hmm…Dave’s comment started my brain (at least, it’ll still start!). I’m going to challenge my team to listen, at home, church, when they’re out, and try to keep a list of the different comments they hear. And I’m going to “borrow” the idea for my blog, too! (You know, in some circles, using someone else’s ideas or information is called “research.”)

  3. Tim Glenn April 21, 2008

    Thanks Ian!

    I appreciate you reading…and taking the time to comment. I hope you’ll come back often and read more of our posts.

    We’re starting to get the blogging thing down!

    God bless,


  4. Ian Durias April 21, 2008

    Well said, Tim. Well said.

  5. Tim Glenn April 21, 2008

    Ooooooh…I like that Dave!

    I think it could be a powerful lesson for youth!

    Thanks for the idea. I may “borrow” it back from you! Ha!

    Thanks for reading…and taking time to leave a comment.


  6. Compassion dave April 21, 2008

    Man o’ man, I am certainly gonna steal (Steal? I mean b-o-r-r-o-w)that theme for the next time I’m talking to a youth group…

    “Top Ten Things You Never Hear in a Poor Kid’s Home”.

    Thanks Tim.

  7. Tim Glenn April 21, 2008


    Yes, if I had never been on a mission trip, I’m not sure I’d see the differences in our conversations the way that I do.

    And for those of us who have gone on such trips, it’s our responsibility to relay that to those who haven’t…so they can start thinking differently about the way we’re blessed in our country…and how we are called to bless others.

    Thank you for taking time to read and comment, Kelly.

  8. Tim Glenn April 21, 2008

    Yeah Vicki, that’s a great example!

    We rarely stop to think that those living in poverty don’t ever get one…yet we fret so much over how we’re going to spend chunks of money for recreation.

    Good addition to the list.

    As always, thanks for reading and commenting!

  9. Kelly @ Love Well April 21, 2008

    That’s the power in missions trips, isn’t it? We gain a window, albeit a small one, into the way other people live.

    I love this idea, Tim.

  10. Vicki Small April 21, 2008

    Good list, Tim. Here’s a very small sample of things we have said, recently, and every year for the past seven years:

    Where are we going for vacations (pl), this year?

    Man! I wish we’d gone to _____, again, this year! Oh, well; at least we’re going to ____ in June.

    Do we want to go to ____ in late September, or early October?

  11. Tim Glenn April 21, 2008

    Thanks Anna!

    Just be prepared to be humbled by it…because I think most of us, myself included, would be surprised at some of the things we take for granted and some of the things we say in the course of our everyday lives.

    Thanks for reading…and for commenting.

  12. Anna April 21, 2008

    What a great way to listen. I think I’ll try that too.

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