Say “Goodbye” to “Hello”

With the proliferation of Caller ID & cell phones over the past few years, I’ve noticed a steady decrease in the use of “Hello” as the standard greeting when answering phone calls. These days, more often than not, I’m as apt to be greeted by “Hey, what’s up?” as I am by “Hello”.

Now, some people may be dismayed at this seeming decline in proper “phone etiquette”, but I think it’s probably a natural & sensible progression given the changes in communications technology. After all, thanks to Caller ID capabilities, both parties know the identity of the person at the other end of the line, so why not just dive right in to a conversation as would be normal in a face-to-face meeting with a friend.

However, there are a couple of standard phone greetings across the globe that I hope won’t change anytime soon. My favorite is the Russian greeting, which is simply, “I’m listening”, followed closely by the Italian greeting of “Ready”. As a matter of fact, I think it would be a good idea if, on occasion, we used either of those two greetings as the opening to our private prayers (our “conversations with God”).

Instead of the routine “Dear heavenly father…” (or some similar variant), why not start out with “I’m listening” (and then proceed to do exactly that for several minutes)? Other times it might be helpful to begin with “Ready…”, which conveys the sense that we’re both ready to receive instruction & ready to act upon it. A prayer life that effectively couples quiet listening with readiness for action is one that goes beyond formal greetings to meaningful conversation.

 

Post by: Eron Elswick, Leadership Team

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