What message are we sending?

February 14, 2024

By Jeff Becraft


One time, I was going to be speaking at a retreat for Black Mountain Home for Children, and our son, Josiah, was also going to be on this retreat. He had arrived on campus before I had and he and Tom, the director of the home, were out in the parking lot talking. I had not arrived yet. Somewhere in the midst of their conversation, Tom says to Josiah, “Well, you know how your dad likes to make an entrance.”

I don’t know what he’s talking about. Driving around the campus… with the windows down and music playing full blast… while blowing the horn… before I show up in the parking lot in front of the gym… is that what he’s referring to?

Everything we do in life sends a message… whether good or bad, positive or negative, encouraging or discouraging, etc.

One time recently, I was on a road trip heading to Maryland. One of the highlights for me of any road trip is to be able to stop at Chick-fil-A. In fact, most of the time I eat at Chick-fil-A is on a road trip. There are many positive memories with it.  Stopping there with our daughter, Hannah, on a road trip, eating breakfast there with Black Mountain somewhere in Tennessee, etc.

As I am standing there in line along with others after we have placed our order, I am just kind of looking around and I noticed another guy standing there waiting also. Now, I don’t know anything about him or anything of what was going on in his life at that time. But as I stood there and just kind of observed, he looked really grumpy. And I wondered, do I look like that?

As I am waiting in line, do I look like that?

I think a lot (and thinking can be dangerous)… and that means I am concentrating (kind of like Pooh bear)… and my brow is furrowed and everything.  I will look at a picture of myself and think (there we go again), “Man… I look old and grumpy in that picture.”  (Of course, that’s why they call me O.G.)

Everything we do in life sends a message. I almost felt like going over to him and saying, “Hey… dude… let’s evaluate this situation. We’re getting ready to eat Chick-fil-A. Are you pickin’ up what I’m throwin’ down here? That’s a great thing.  This is a time to be happy.”

And I’ve got a new system now with Chick-fil-A as I’m on a road trip – I get several different sauces and I just line them up across the dashboard. I then go down the line and I try each one and determine which one’s my favorite for that night.

So, as we consider this… those little times in life like just standing in line… what are we really thinking about and what message are we sending? Are we thankful for what we’re getting ready to receive? Are we even seeing the people behind the counter that are working and getting ready to give us our meal? Or are we just thinking about something else… and looking grumpy and not even realizing it?


Jeff Becraft is the Director of Our Place of Hope and the Director Emeritus for Youth Corps and has dedicated much of his life to helping shift the vision of people’s lives. Our Place of Hope is a paradigm shift for people living with mental illness that encourages them to regain meaning, purpose, and hope for their lives. You can connect with Jeff at  [email protected].