What about Bob...again

Jess Oaks
Posted 3/6/24

Eleanor Roosevelt once said, “Great minds discuss ideas; average minds discuss events; small minds discuss people.”

There has never been a truer phrase.  

Living in a small …

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What about Bob...again


Eleanor Roosevelt once said, “Great minds discuss ideas; average minds discuss events; small minds discuss people.”

There has never been a truer phrase. 

Living in a small community there is chatter on every street corner. We are close-knit neighbors here in Goshen County and more times than not, we chat. 

It isn’t the fact we stop and catch up from time to time in the grocery store. Sometimes we stand in the produce section, just chatting with our neighbors and our friends and that’s perfectly fine. Other shoppers will just simply avoid the traffic jam and continue along their way. 

It isn’t the fact we stop to talk which draws a concern but more so the nature of our conversations. 

Unfortunately, we spend more time talking about other people than we do discussing beneficial topics. 

At times, it’s important to ask ourselves is our conversation helpful. 

Of course! Sometimes having a 20-minute conversation about Bob across the street is helpful. Perhaps Bob is just recovering from surgery and occasionally needs a neighbor or a friend to stop by and let the dog out for a few days. Arrange that. Make it happen. Maybe Bob just lost his wife, and he could use a friend. 

Not all conversations about people are damaging or pointless but on a lot of occasions, our conversation about Bob lacks substance.  

Living in a small town, we have limited events to discuss. Sure, there is the random spring fundraiser where we all sat and played bingo or maybe we bought some raffle tickets or baked goods. Truthfully there aren’t many events happening locally to chat for a great amount of time. 

Why don’t we talk about ideas?

Why don’t we work together to and brainstorm plans to make positive changes in the community?

Surely there must be some solution to the complaints we all have daily. Maybe Bob owns a house on your block, and he has collected years and years’ worth of junk. Perhaps his grass is weedy and overgrown. How about instead of standing in the produce isle, complaining about Bob’s lack of interest in the community, maybe ask Bob if he could use a hand. Perhaps all Bob needs is a little help. 

Of course, I know sometimes you can lead a horse to water, but it still won’t drink. Sometimes, we might be right there, reaching out to Bob, trying to help in every way possible, but Bob...he just won’t budge. And that’s okay.

We tried. That is all that matters. 

The high school years are over. This isn’t drama class. We don’t need to destroy people with our conversations because we are being small minded. There is no reason to stand in the grocery store, or any location really, and have a destructive conversation about another human. 

Life is hard. Juggling work, family and a life is often overwhelming with the struggles of the world today. Why make it harder by being cruel to others?

We are no longer students passing each other in the hall. We are husbands and wives, daughters, brothers, and friends, perhaps we should treat each other as such.