Read First

Not sure what grade I was in, but it was grade school, so perhaps grade 5 or 6. The teacher announced a special surprise test. Put all your books away. Just keep out several pencils.

She then passed out the tests, but we were to keep them face down until everyone had theirs, as this test was a time limited one.

One last instruction. Read ALL the instructions before starting the test.


My mind rejoiced when I noticed that most of the questions were math based. My best subject. But I could not believe how short a time period we were being allowed. I raced through the questions as quickly as I could, answering them all, and also keeping my eye on the classroom’s clock at the same time. I might just make it.

I read the final question just seconds before the buzzer went, and gasped as I realized the significance of it. The final question was not a question at all. It was an instruction that merely stated that I should print my name at the top of the first page, and wait for the buzzer.

You see, the very first instruction was to read every question without answering any of them until told to do so, and, of course, we were never told to answer any of the questions.

Have you ever failed to complete an assignment properly because you did not read the instructions thoroughly? I did that today at church. I was in charge of the computer that puts the words to songs on screen, so the congregation can sing along. Some of the files that I needed on the computer were missing, so I sent a text to our coordinator. He replied that he was on his way with the files. Several minutes later I was reading the instruction sheet that lists the order of the songs, and there, right at the top (and even highlighted) was the following sentence. “I will be bringing the rest of the files with me Sunday morning and will arrive by 10:00”.