If someone wants to talk to you
Listen to them until they’re through.
No matter if they talk till dawn,
Don’t interrupt, look bored or yawn.
Hold your words and don’t be vexed;
Your turn to speak is coming next.

Interrupt only if you see
A prisoner running free,
A porcupine who wants to play,
A solar eclipse (look away!),
A bucking, snorting runaway horse,
Or a house on fire, of course.”

John Bemelmans Marciano
, Madeline Says Merci: The-Always-Be-Polite Book

This excerpt comes from one of my most treasured childhood books. The passage above, in particular, has always stuck with me…cemented by a comical illustration of Madeline quietly waiting her turn to speak while a prisoner is escaping, a porcupine is introducing himself, a solar eclipse is forming overhead, a wild horse is making its getaway, and a house is in flames. (All cited as valid reasons to interrupt someone!) One of the most fundamental childhood precepts – we’re talking Manners 101 – is to refrain from interrupting others without good reason. Yet I see a building epidemic of self-centeredness in our culture; one where interrupting is becoming so commonplace that it really is quite disgraceful. It’s rare to observe, or partake in, a conversation where all parties are actively listening to the current speaker and someone is not rudely interrupting and interjecting. And so, as elementary as the topic may seem, I believe there is a significant need to revisit this basic lesson in conversation etiquette.

Let’s begin at the beginning. What exactly does it mean to “interrupt”? It is defined as follows:

interrupt (ˌɪntəˈrʌpt)
1. to break the continuity of (an action, event, etc) or hinder (a person) by intrusion
2. to cease to perform (some action)
3. to obstruct (a view)
4. to prevent or disturb (a conversation, discussion, etc) by questions, interjections, or comment

Some synonyms of “interrupt” include: cut off, break up, put aside, put away, butt in, chime in, chisel in, barge in, break in, burst in, burst upon, disturb, disrupt, discontinue, end, stop, and terminate.

What a list! Interrupting (without due cause) is just plain rude. However, for most people, interrupting is not a malicious act…it is simply a bad habit that needs unlearned. Are you a girl, interrupting? Then allow me to share with you two underlying causes that may be the source of this bad habit. If we identify the problem, we can identify the solution. #1, some girls interrupt because they have…

Interruption: a way to demonstrate how much more important you think what you have to say is than what another has to say.

– Shel Harrington

One crucial way to convey our care for others is by making them feel heard. It’s pretty difficult for someone to feel heard when they can’t get a word in edgewise! Interruption is an interception – it shifts the spotlight from the original (rightful) speaker to the new (unrightful) speaker. When we cut someone off, steal their thunder, or finish their sentences by interjecting our own interpretation of their words, we are essentially silencing their voice and sending the message, “you don’t matter” (whether intentionally or unintentionally). Furthermore, interrupting places “me, myself, and I” on a self-exalted pedestal.

Humility is key to kicking the interrupting habit to the curb. The more honor we give to others, and the less attention we seek for ourselves, we will find it natural to give others the floor in conversation. Even secular conversational advisors recommend we speak only 20% of the time in group conversation, and 50% of the time in one-on-one discourse. Much more than that, and we will quickly become unsavory to those around us. You know what they say: we were made with two ears and only one mouth, so that we would listen twice as much as we talk.

Do you have too much self-importance? Don’t be that girl, interrupting. Cultivate a spirit of humility.

Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. – Philippians 2:3-4

#2, some girls interrupt because they have…

To conquer oneself is the best and noblest victory; to be vanquished by one’s own nature is the worst and most ignoble defeat.

– Plato

Many interrupt because they don’t have an objective view of themselves. They don’t see themselves as others see them – rude, inconsiderate, and obnoxious. Instead of having a growth and improvement mindset, they simply plod through life doing what comes naturally, making the same old mistakes they always have. They will interrupt today, they will interrupt tomorrow, and they will interrupt decades from now – because they’re not making a conscious effort to level up their conversation skills.

Personal reflection is key to kicking the interrupting habit to the curb. We must constantly ask ourselves how we can improve…not from a place of self-deprecation, but of self-evaluation. We all have strengths to elevate and weaknesses to eliminate. If interruption is a weakness of yours, take careful note of it, and strive to make every conversation an improvement from the last. The more you bite your tongue, the easier it becomes. Self-improvement is a process…but as long as you do a little better with each occasion, you will find your weakness having less of a hold on you. Practice makes progress!

Do you have too little self-awareness? Don’t be that girl, interrupting. Cultivate a spirit of personal reflection.

The wisdom of the prudent is to give thought to their ways, but the folly of fools is deception. – Proverbs 14:8

In conclusion…

The bad habit of interrupting is most commonly caused by…

  1. Too Much Self-Importance, and/or 2. Too Little Self-Awareness

In order to nip interruption in the bud, we must get to the root of the matter. By internalizing a spirit of humility and personal reflection, we will soon transform into elegant ladies…characterized by our mindful gentility, superb etiquette, and kind consideration. Strive to be a lady, and don’t be that girl, interrupting.

If one gives an answer before he hears, it is his folly and shame. – Proverbs 18:13

For God’s glory,
Mrs. Dustin Bolks

Chaste Bolks is a church of Christ preacher’s wife, and the home educating mother of two children. She and her family currently reside in Northwest Iowa.

Money’s not important
You’ll hear some people say
But try getting by without it
With all those bills to pay

It really is essential now
Without it life gets tougher
Just like air and water
Without it you would suffer

You need it for the clothes you buy
And the roof above your head
Then there’s all the food you eat
And a warm and comfy bed

Don’t deny your need for dosh
It makes the world go round
Everyone needs money
The dollar or the pound

By helping other people
You can earn a lot of cash
But don’t forget to save a little
And build a decent stash

When saving for your future
Make an early start
Money should be in your head
But never in your heart

– “Money” by Roy Sutton

Mr. Sutton has summarized man’s need for money in a way simple enough for a child to grasp. 1 Timothy 6:10 warns us that, “the love of money is a root of all sorts of evil”. (This passage is commonly misquoted as “money is the root of all evil”, but there’s quite a difference between the two ideas.) I believe the poem helps clear up the misnomer cleanly and concisely: “money should be in your head, but never in your heart”. Money is merely a tool, neither good nor evil…what matters is our attitude towards money and the use thereof.

My #1 goal at Destress the Damsel is to encourage women to acknowledge, accept, and assimilate their God-given roles as wives, mothers, and homemakers. One significant way that women can step into their purpose is by recognizing The Power of Prudence. The way you wield money can bear an incredible impact on your marriage, your children, and your home. Check out this poignant passage:

House and wealth are an inheritance from fathers, but a prudent wife is from the Lord. – Proverbs 19:14

The Bible places more emphasis on the prudence of a man’s wife than it does on his house or his wealth. One is an inheritance of a father, but the other is an inheritance of The Father. House and wealth can be lost all too easily, but prudence is a lasting quality of immeasurable value. Do you desire to be a gift from God to your husband? In many ways, your money choices dictate what kind of wife you will be. Today, I am going to share with you two choices that can monetarily make or break your home. You could pick…

But beware: The rich rules over the poor, and the borrower becomes the lender’s slave. – Proverbs 22:7

Debt is a curse. Scripture goes so far as to call it a form of slavery. Unwise use of credit brings short-term pleasure and long-term pain…

While items purchased on credit may bring temporary satisfaction, consider the hefty opportunity cost. Time spent with loved onespeace in the homea good name…are these blessings worth throwing away in order to have more stuff? Unless you happen to be of a royal bloodline, the inheritor of a large fortune, or one who stumbles upon the “x” that marks a pirate’s gold stash, you are unlikely to have it all. And so you must choose what is most important to you.

Do you struggle with poor money habits? I am no financial expert, and the advice I have to offer is nothing that hasn’t been said before. Even so, I find these tips to be useful in my life, and perhaps they may be in yours as well:

If you currently have debt, get it paid off post haste. Pick up an extra shift at work, skimp on groceries, have a garage sale…do what it takes to climb out of the hole you’re in so you can start with a fresh slate. If you use credit cards, make sure to pay them off monthly…if you don’t, those interest rates will suck your bank account dry. Make a workable budget…and stick to it. Stop window shopping…in-person or online. Prioritize wants vs. needs…and furthermore, prioritize big wants vs. little wants/short-term wants vs. long-term wants. Resist impulse buying. Practice patience. Bottom line: don’t spend what you don’t have.

If you choose to spend what you don’t have, you risk causing a split, a stress, and a shame for your family. So allow me to suggest picking this instead…

Because: There is precious treasure and oil in the home of the wise, but a foolish person swallows it up. – Proverbs 21:20

If we aim to be wise women who build our homes instead of tearing them down, we must be controlled in our finances…we must prioritize saving over spending…we must have a big-picture mindset rather than giving in to every little desire that flashes before our eyes. Saving brings short-term pain and long-term pleasure…

Saying “no” to more stuff and saying “yes” to more self-control is going to bring lasting benefits to your life in the long run. Many women will come to look at their material possessions with regret later in life, for the high cost it brought to their family. I daresay there are few women who will come to the end of their life, lamenting, “if only I had amassed more things and spent less time with my husband and kids.” Invest in the people in your life more than your possessions. I assure you that bringing your family close, bringing your family calm, and bringing your family clout will bring you far more lasting joy than all the things money can buy. Get a handle on your finances, so you can have what you don’t spend.

In conclusion…

Prudence is a powerful virtue that can make or break a home.

You can spend what you don’t have, and risk causing a split, a stress, and a shame for your family.


You can have what you don’t spend, and bring your family close, bring your family calm, and bring your family clout.

As for me, I want to choose the option that says, “I am a prudent wife from the Lord”. What say you?

Employ the power of prudence today. Your tomorrow self will thank you.

Better is a little with the fear of the Lord than great treasure and trouble therewith. Better is a dinner of herbs where love is, than a stalled ox and hatred therewith. – Proverbs 15:16-17

For God’s glory,
Mrs. Dustin Bolks

Chaste Bolks is a church of Christ preacher’s wife, and the home educating mother of two children. She and her family currently reside in Northwest Iowa.