Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Oxygen Tank Moments

Brother L. is one of the members in our ward who must wheel an oxygen tank with him to sacrament meeting. A few weeks ago, right in the middle of a young speaker's talk, his oxygen tank malfunctioned and started emitting a loud hissing noise.

It took Brother L. a good 30 seconds to get the tank shut off to stop the loud noise. (It seemed a lot longer.) All the while, the speaker continued to speak, as though nothing was occurring.

Weeks later, we joked about this in Elders Quorum where I mentioned the Oxygen Tank Principle. "If you're giving a talk and an oxygen tank goes off, don't bother continuing to talk because no one is hearing a word you're saying." We all had a good-natured chuckle.

Moments later, I volunteered to read a quote from the manual as part of our quorum lesson. When I was about two sentences from the end of the quote, my little boy (17 months) started making a loud moaning noise and squirmed like crazy in my lap. I soldiered on and finished reading the quote. It then immediately struck me that I'd just violated the oxygen tank principle. I'd read something when everyone in the room was busy being entertained by my rambunctious kid. Then we all had another good-natured chuckle at my expense.

As I ponder back over this principle, I wonder if it is correct. Should a sacrament meeting speaker really stop speaking if something occurs in the room that naturally draws everyone's attention? Would that only embarrass the unwilling disturber? How long do you wait before you continue in the face of a continuing disturbance?


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  • I don't know if they should stop unless it's really a medical problem. Like if someone fainted. What would you think if you started having a heart attack and the speaker just kept on talking while people tried to assist you? Hmm. I don't know. Sometimes we are too uptight about having meetings be very formal.

    By Blogger Michelle Glauser, at 6/29/2008 2:32 PM  

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