Chew Before You Swallow

I’ve always been a fast eater. The problem with that is, I tend to not chew my food well before I swallow it. When my grandparents were alive my grandmother was convinced that what contributed to my grandfather getting cancer was because he didn’t chew his food well. A good friend from high school told me once that he actually chews his food 45 times before he swallows it! Amazing. 

Chewing your food properly is very important to your health. Chewing your food helps to produce saliva that has properties to help breakdown food and aid in digestion.

One of my pet peeves is when you are talking to someone and you know they are not listening. This is something I know I need to be aware of and something I am grateful for in my counseling training. Listening, and not just hearing, is the process in which we “chew” on what other people are saying. When we take in what people are saying before we chew on it, we don’t digest it well and it causes interrelational problems.

Chew the food that other people feed you, chew it well. Listen, really seek to breakdown what people are saying before you swallow. Avoid giving a quick answer. Avoid formulating your own answers before they are done speaking. Try to not be in a rush. Just like eating, when we rush, we don’t chew properly. This can cause much complications.

The better you chew on what is being told you, the better you can digest the communication between you and others. The better your digestion, the better the overall health of your body of relationships. Chew before you swallow. -jason

 

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Black Coffee with Cream

 

A big part of my job involves meeting with and talking with people. Often conversations occur over a cup of coffee. I do love a good cup of coffee and I like my coffee untainted, just black.

When I order my coffee I keep it simple. “Can I get a small black coffee?” Nine out of ten times the barista replies, “Room for cream?” Usually I just say no thank you and that’s the end of it. Every once in a while the barista will catch themselves and say, “Oh, black coffee, sorry.”

It doesn’t bother me at all. These coffee shops are usually stacked with endless lines of people all anxious to get their caffeine fix. I’m sure having to take coffee orders over and over again it just becomes routine. Lines like, “Room for cream?” just becomes an automatic response.

While this is acceptable in some circumstances, I began to wonder if I have automated responses to people in different areas of my life. I imagine with my kids I can have the tendency to give automated responses without really listening. At the end of a long day I may give my wife an answer before I really hear her. Even at church when I am tired or preoccupied with other things on my mind, I might give some automated response without really listening.

Dietrich Bonheoffer, in his book Life Together, talks about listening. “There is a kind of listening with half an ear that presumes already to know what the other person has to say.” Listening with half an ear is when we start to formulate our responses before the other person is done talking.

As I see it, the world can use some better listeners. I have a feeling if we were all better at listening to our family and friends, we might put some therapist out of business. Maybe the simple act of listening can bring us together as a society and community a little more. Let’s be more present in our conversations, let’s listen intently and respond accordingly. Listening with half an ear and giving automated or premature responses is like asking someone if they want cream in their black coffee. It just doesn’t make sense. -jason

“If one gives an answer before he hears, it is his folly and shame.”

Proverbs 18:13