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Sep 26, 2022

While in Ghana with our prosthetic limb outreach, Standing With Hope, Gracie and I visited a church in the port city of Tema. Following the service, I met a tall, impressive man wearing a flowing white traditional costume with gold trim. With a thick English/Ghanian accent, I heard him introduce himself as “…de King,’ Amos.”

Never meeting a king, I felt a bit tongue-tied and stammered, “Sir, I apologize – I don’t know how to properly address you.” 

With a huge smile, he offered in his deep voice, “Just call me “Amos.” 

“Sir, I can’t just call you that,” I replied – but he graciously continued chatting. Shortly after, while attending a reception with the pastor, I exclaimed, “I just met the King!” 

With a perplexed look, the pastor asked, “What King?”

“The King, Amos,” I replied.

Thinking for a minute, the pastor exploded in laughter and spoke in his native language to the room full of Ghanaians – who also started chuckling.

Sheepishly, I asked him to explain. 

With his equally thick Ghanian accent, the pastor laughed and shared. “You met a church officer, ‘Dea-con’ Amos – not ‘De King,’ Amos.”  

Perceptions often cloud hearing. The man looked regal – and perception allowed my ears to misinterpret. While my mistake only resulted in laughter, many misconstrued conversations can result in hurt feelings, resentment, and fractured relationships. 

Caregiving breeds isolation and isolation distorts perception – which leads to significant challenges. Asking for clarification, regardless of embarrassment, always trumps misunderstanding.

Studies have shown that 90% of error in thinking is due to error in perception. - Edward de Bono