Radio Leicester Thought for the Day

John Denney, 2 August 1999


Some of you might know that on alternate weeks I do a review of the Sunday papers on BBC Radio Leicester’s Morning Extra programme on Sunday mornings.  Yesterday’s papers were proof that we’re in the “silly season”, when there’s not much hard news about.  So there were no major stories that were covered in every paper, no scoops to make us all say “wow”, nothing to change governments. The few journalists who are not on holiday themselves flounder around, printing stories that have been gathering dust for months, and even making up stories about nothing.  Gossip becomes news.  Trivia is magnified.  So at this time of year we can expect to read of crop circles; and cabinet reshuffles that don’t happen; of Archbishops who are believed to possibly be going to reject some central article of faith in some speech they haven’t yet drafted; of football transfers that never in fact happen.


But here are some genuine newspaper headlines that I’ve collected over the years:

            Red Tape Holds Up New Bridges

            Children Make Nutritious Snacks

            Enraged Cow Injures Farmer with Axe

            Stolen Painting Found by Tree

And my personal favourite,

            Crashed Plane Flew Too Close To Ground, Expert Says


It’s very easy to express yourself badly, and that can lead to misunderstandings.  I wonder if, like me, you sometimes find yourself ignoring the old saying “Put brain into gear before engaging mouth”.  I once found myself asking whether someone’s father was up and about again when I had attended his funeral just a couple of weeks earlier.  And boy, did I cringe when I realised!  It taught me that you really do have to be careful about what you say.


Jesus had a brother called James.  Around 50 AD, he wrote a letter to Jewish converts to Christianity.  He warns them to be careful to control what they say.  He says our tongue is like the rudder of a ship.  It is small, but it has disproportionate effects.  He remarks that just as a forest fire can start with just a tiny spark, likewise the words we speak can have unforeseeable effects.


So my thought for us today is to think twice before we say something unpleasant about someone else; to hold back before we pass on a delicious piece of gossip or tittle-tattle.  In short, to watch our tongue.


Let’s make today a sensible day in the middle of a silly season.


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