Saturday, August 09, 2008

Tom Long: “That Was Uncalled For!”

Tom Long, Professor at Emory University, shares this personal story:

When I was a boy and did something that I shouldn’t have done, something that displeased my parents very much, my mother would often use a phrase that I suppose other parents have used as well. She would look me in the eye and say, “Son, that was uncalled for!”

It’s an interesting phrase, isn’t it? “Uncalled for.” As if there’s someone out there calling for you. As if what it means to be good is not something that wells up automatically inside of you but is something that has to be summoned and called for from the outside, as if being the person you ought to be needs to be called for from the outside.

The older I get, the more I know that’s true, that one of the deepest human hungers that we have is to be called for. And one of the deepest human fears that we have is that there is no one out there who cares enough about us to call for us.

Thomas Long, "Where You Never Expected to Be", Program #5004, First air date October 22, 2006, 30 Good Minutes