There’s been an interesting series of events happening in my life lately, one in particular got me thinking. Those that follow my posts on Twitter have an idea of what I’m talking about, and without going into detail, I’ll fill the rest of you in.

My two boys were playing the other day and one intentionally, or unintentionally (still trying to determine his mind-frame with this), caused harm to his other brother. I do realize these things happen, I mean, I KNOW this stuff happens. I had three younger brothers growing up, we fought all the time. Sometimes, most of the time, someone would get hurt. We of course didn’t intend to cause any serious damage, who really has that intention.

But anyway, this got me to thinking about why people don’t think before they act, and even to why I act the way I do sometimes without taking a second to check the situation. It’s rather redundant to keep saying this, but our actions always, ALWAYS have an equal reaction.

I’m not talking about karma, I’m talking about you or I making a decision that could cause permanent harm to someone. Our actions obviously hurt the person in that moment, but what damage could we have potentially caused in the long run?

So you decide it’d be funny to mock the Three Stooges and give your pal an eye poke, nyuk nyuk nyuk, very funny right? Your friend, obviously, is not excited about being jabbed in the eye, and tells you to cut your fingernails because it hurt his eyeball. You find out later that you scratched the eyeball and now your friend has permanent blurred vision in his eye. Very funny right?

How about this one, you decide to give your friend a wet willy, it’s funny right. A little gross, but sometimes wet willies are funny. Instead of just your finger you grab a small object, wet it and jab it in their ear. Again, they are not excited about your idiocy and complain that it hurts. You chuckle, thinking your moronic attempt to garner some laughs worked. You find out two days later you have caused irreparable damage to your friends ear drum and ear canal, they will never hear again, or at least properly, in that ear.

My whole point is there comes a time when we all need to slow down, no we need to STOP, and take just a split second to question what the hell we are doing. What’s the outcome going to be here? Is this causing someone harm? This is going to be bad right? I probably shouldn’t do this, but it’d be so funny right?

Seriously, when are we going to learn this stuff? I know I don’t think all the time about what I do and how it’ll turn out, there’s got to be an easier way to just slow down. Surprisingly, there is! It’s something we have will us all the time, most of the time we don’t even know it’s there. It’s our breath. Maybe monkey mind has you in it’s grip, and you aren’t making the best decisions, slow down and take a breath. The breath can be one of the most refreshing things, it can bring a moment of clarity like nothing else.

So, next time your thinking the eye gouge or wet willy is a smart idea, slow down, better yet, STOP! Take a breath and MOVE ON.

It’s hard sometimes for me to swallow the words I say, but this has got to happen. Whether we know it or not, people are watching. Not some big brother type of thing, but folks are sometimes looking for our example, you know. Especially those of us that have small children, they are going to mimic everything we do.

I leave you with this gem… In the now infamous words of a wise man, Ice Cube, “You better check yo self before you wreck yo self!” I couldn’t have said it better myself…


  1. I have two quick comments on your post.
    1) You have to remember that pre-teens and teens are brain damaged, literally. The chemicals that are rushing through their brains are making incredibly quick changes to who they are. They learn quickly, they move quickly, they act quickly. It is a humungus physical advancement in their lives. Nevertheless, it comes at the expense of the brain. The ability to reason, suppress impulse control, make good judgements. Teens even loose the ability to recognize non-verbal clues. Trust me, I have a tween who went from brilliant to Rain Man in one birthday (and so did all her friends).

    Be compassionate.

    2) I have noticed (and I think many others have too) the growing number of irrationally acting people in this world. People are ruder, more violent, more temperamental and throw more tantrums (at all ages). I don’t know if there is a YouTube effect, where either we see more because of cell phones or people act badly because they are on camera. What I do know is that the world seems to be revealing more of the “terrible twos”, “terrible teens” and “terrible twenties.” I am not saying that this is what your kids are up to– but the increasingly violent rough-housing seems to be encouraged by the overall climate of our society.

    I certainly never saw an episode of “Leave it to Beaver” where you hear Wally say, “Oh no you did’n’! Beav, touch my magazines again and I’ll beat you a**.” And the Beav responded, “Gee Wally. Bring it, b****!”

    No, Wally and the Beaver used their “words” to settle things. They played nice. They ate more raw foods and veggies. They didn’t watch R rated movies, listen to gangsta rap, or have Eddie Haskle try to sell them pot or heroine after school.

    So again, I offer the suggestion of compassion. Our children live in an over-stimulated and confusing world.

  2. Good advice Nate.
    People are emotional beings. We go with the feeling of the moment all too often when we should really stop and think.

    I can picture a three panel illustration using the figures you see for “Don’t do this, do that” style designs being used as a take off of Stop, Drop, Roll.
    Stop – figure at stop sign.
    Drop – figure sitting in meditation
    Think – same figure but with a thought cloud.

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