Let’s start of this week with a story told by Glenn Van Ekeren from his Speakers Sourcebook.
It was a hot, humid day in the middle of Kansas City. The eight-hour shift seemed especially long for the veteran bus driver. Suddenly, a young woman, apparently upset about something, let loose with a string of unforgettable, not to mention unrepeatable, words. The bus driver, looking in his overhead mirror, could sense everyone around her was embarrassed by the string of profanity.
Still murmuring, the angry passenger began to disembark a few blocks later. As she stepped down, the bus driver calmly said, “Madam, I believe you’re leaving something behind.” She quickly turned and snapped, “Oh? And what was that?” “A very bad impression,” the bus driver responded.
Most of us can relate to all three parties in this story.
We have been the lady, we have been the audience, and we have been the bus driver, at least in our minds. The impression the lady left defined her, at least to those sitting around her.
Let’s give her the benefit of the doubt. She was probably was a good lady who, that day, left a bad impression in a public setting. However, if she habitually keeps on exploding like she did in the story, she would be wise to get a checkup from the neck-up. The way she acts in a public setting affects others and affects her also.
Here’s some truth about impressions. Your first impression can be your last impression either positively or negatively. The first impression of a person is one people will hold for the longest time. The last impression we have of that person is held almost as long.
Political consultant Roger Ailes has said that we generally make up our mind within a matter of seconds of meeting a person as to whether or not we are going to like them or even trust them. Those few seconds are important and will affect our decisions regarding that person for a long time.
Think of first impressions like this.
My father’s cattle ranch in northern Arizona has a ‘garden’ of the footprints and handprints of all his grandchildren and great grandchildren. When a new arrival comes along, he makes a cement form, pours in wet cement. Then we press the hands and feet of the new grandchild or great grandchild into the cement. Those impressions last for many, many years. I know because I can see my children’s foot and hand prints still there today. They are getting old! That’s called a father’s revenge.
The same is true with the impressions we make with others.
First and last impressions are set in concrete in people’s minds about us. Those impressions last for quite a while. And, those impressions can be a blessing or a curse to us.
Zig Ziglar notes in his book, Something Else to Smile About, the following. “Yes, the first and last impressions are important, but over the long haul it’s trust and character that determine the length and extent of most relationships. Think about it. Make good first impressions, make good last impressions, and in between be the right kind of person. You’ll collect an awful lot of friends and admirers.” Did you hear that? That’s wise. You just got equipped for life.
There’s a Proverb in the Bible which says to parents: “Train up a child in the way he should go…” Let’s add to it saying, “And go there yourself once and a while.” Help make someone else’s day and along with it, your day…impressive, most impressive.
Church-Community Connection is published weekly in newspapers and blogs all over the world. Most of these newspapers are local paid subscription newspapers. The goal of these 600 word articles is to build a bridge to the community through humor, wisdom and changing inaccurate mental perceptions that the community has of God, church, and Christianity. If you know of a local newspaper that you think would like these articles, please have them contact Ed Delph at our website. The articles are free of charge and Ed’s way of giving back to the community.