By Dr. Ron Ross
The clock on my dashboard said 7:28, my watch said 7:31, and my cell phone said 7:33. I wondered out loud, “Am I going to be two minutes early or three minutes late?”
I parked my car, grabbed my briefcase, and jogged toward the office building. As I ran, it hit me: there’s a big difference between having a watch and keeping watch.
To have a watch means you carry a small portable timepiece. Big deal, almost everyone does that. To keep watch means you’re paying attention, learning, doing, guarding, examining, and more. Those who keep watch get things done. Those who just watch, well, they just watch.
To keep watch means to observe carefully. “Watch how I do this and then you’ll know how”, my mother told me as she sewed a button on my shirt. I learned because I watched with care.
To keep watch means to wait attentively. Ambitious people watch for opportunities, hourly workers only watch the clock. Go-getters never let their minds go numb even in mind-numbing circumstances.
To keep watch means to be on guard against potential dangers. A soldier will “keep watch” through the night to protect his fellow troops from unknown dangers.
To keep watch means to be careful. Before you cross the street for any reason you are well advised to watch out for on-coming traffic.
To keep watch means to stay awake while others sleep. A good mother will keep watch over her sick child through the night. A determined soul will wake up an hour early to study, think, or pray and to get a quick start on each day.
To keep watch means to contemplate, to consider with great focus. Those who keep watch make decisions after carefully considering all the implications.
To keep watch means to practice discretion or self-restraint. Someone once said, “Discretion is the ability to raise your eyebrow instead of your voice.” Most of us have been told to, “watch your mouth!”
To keep watch means to superintend, to manage, to control. A good businessperson keeps watch over all aspects of his business.
Those who just watch are mere spectators, bystanders, or sidewalk superintendents. Most are not even useful as a witness as they are not really engaged with what happened.
Spectators just watch. But those who get in the game are those who want to grow and those who strive to know, they don’t just watch, they keep watch.
So, whether or not you get anything accomplished in life does not depend on the accuracy of your watch. It depends on your ability to effectively keep watch.
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