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    Please, Earth. Swallow Me Whole!

    My topic at a symposium was how to lead all-day workshops. There were about 150 people present. A woman approached the standing microphone and asked how often we should offer breaks throughout the day.

    I said, “People should be given a break every 60 - 75 minutes. But when I was leading workshops during my pregnancy, I needed to call a break every 45 minutes.”

    She said, “Are you implying that I’m pregnant?”

    “Um . . . you’re not?”

    "I’m not.” 

    This was followed by tense silence as all heads turned toward me to see what I would do. 

    I had no words. My mouth opened and closed but nothing came out. 

    I was finally able to speak. I said, “I apologize and I beg your forgiveness.” I closed my eyes and took a deep breath. My next words were, “Pray, let us continue.”

    You and I need to develop a reliable filter that swipes away inappropriate words before they leave our lips. And if that filter fails us, we need to humbly apologize.

    Moral of the story: Never assume a woman is pregnant, even if you are physically present when she goes into labor.

     

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