Did you know . . .

the average person speaks at about 150 words per minute?

That’s somewhere between 2,500 and 3,000 words if you speak for about 20 minutes!

That’s enough to make me want to keep my mouth shut . . .

or more careful about what comes out of it!

That hit me in the face the other day.

I give piano lessons to my 3rd grade grandson who, until lately, had been highly motivated—so motivated that my piano found a new home.

So what if it cost hundreds of dollars to find another wall just five blocks away! The next concert pianist was about to be born! Even though electric keyboards have replaced felted hammers, tuning pins, and wooden benches, there’s still something charming about a ton-of-bricks with yellowing ivories.

But now that summer was on the horizon, his enthusiasm waned.

He wasn’t sure he wanted to keep taking lessons.

I could see this was a difficult topic for him to discuss. Maybe he didn’t want to disappoint me. Maybe he wasn’t convinced himself. Maybe he just didn’t have the words. I’ve certainly been there.

After he courageously and cautiously explained, I said, “So, you want to quit.”

That dear little face froze. He was speechless. Humiliated.

As soon as quit slipped through my lips, I knew I had let out the wrong word.

He took a deep breath. “Well, when you say it like that, it sounds much worse than it is.”

Yes. It did. He was right.

Quit sounded harsh. Like a bad loser. A failure. Quit meant not following through on your word. Something he’d never do. Trustworthy could be his middle name.

I didn’t mean any of that, of course, but I had very matter-of-factly reduced his courageous attempt to explain to one little word—quit.

I missed his heart.

We shared the piano bench for one last lesson. We played some lively duets on that old, heavy beast, put some closure on his accomplishments, and I assured him he wasn’t a failure. There’s a time for everything. A quitter he was not. I was sorry if I made him feel that way.

Photo by Victoria Art on Pexels.com

My lesson that day—Listen for the heart.

His words were only part of the message.

Heart was the other. The more important part.

A few days later his mom said he had thought it through. And I’m sure he had. He’s as much of a thinker as he is trustworthy. (You’d absolutely love to spend a day talking to this kid!)

“Grammy, I want to keep taking lessons.”

Music to my ears! “Oh, that’s great! What changed your mind?”

“I had fun playing at our last lesson together. Yeah . . . I think it would be good. I can’t take saxophone till I’m older anyway so I might as well.”

Might as well . . . I’m sure there’s some tender-hearted-grammy-love in there somewhere.

Words. Heart.

Listen for both.

Need some big-hearted, encouraging things to say to the littles in your life? Here’s a good reminder about what we say really does matter. Get this poster here!

I love these books!

OH . . . and don’t forget . . .

My new release

Turtle on the Track

is 20% off this summer!

Included are some ways to slow down these summer days that go all too fast!

You’ll also get a little extra quiet time with coloring pages, a dot-to-dot,

and a turtle search on every page! 

FUN IDEA: Pair it was a turtle sprinkler for a great summer gift!

Start on my home page to order or go directly to Orange Hat Publishing for your signed copy!

5 thoughts on “WORDS + HEART

  1. Chris Walls says:

    I loved this post. It made me tear up. Our words are so powerful and yet we forget that. Or IF we do ponder that it is easy to “freeze up” and not try to communicate. You so beautifully showed us the process and lovely outcome. You also summed it up when you said “listen to the heart”. Wow, that is where it is at when we speak and also when we listen to others speaking to us. Know their heart. Keep writing those powerful words my friend! Lives will be changed by your insights.


  2. Mary Fredricks says:

    Oh…my dearest Karen❤ Who knows better than I, when the wrong words comes out!! I’ve sure been there many times with family, friends and just about anybody else! I have a new motto to live by: Think quickly, but talk slowly.😘


  3. Karen Biel says:

    Loved this Karen! Loved the poster and was happy to read many things I had said to my kids and grandkids! 🧡 Karen

    Sent from my iPhone



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