It Is Never Just About You

When do we come to the point where we realize that the world does not revolve around us? I think all of us have known people who live like the world starts and stops on their command. This is cute in a toddler, amusing in a child, irritating in a teen, and ridiculous in an adult.

The earlier we come to the realization that the world is bigger than just us, the better it is for everyone. I work with kids on a daily basis to get them to practice simple things like saying please, thank you, and I’m sorry. Learning to share is a big step for kids in getting this concept down. When they learn to truly put others first, it is a huge step in growing up.

There is an unwritten rule with kids: no cutting in line. When someone cuts in line, it seems that everyone goes into a panic mode. You would think that the world was coming to an end because someone got in line ahead of them. I am not saying it is right for someone to cut in line, but in the scheme of things…is it really worth getting upset about?

I constantly am looking for the balance in keeping the peace with kids. They want a sense of fairness, and I get that. However, it gets to be ridiculous the amount of tattling that goes on. The other day I had a kid tattle on a kid for cutting in line in the cafeteria. I asked him to point out the perpetrator. When he boldly pointed him out, I escorted the guilty boy to the FRONT of the line. When I got back to the tattletale, I said, “I don’t like tattling.” LOL. The look on his face was priceless. He stood there with his jaw open and that look of, “What just happened”???

I have sent many kids to the back of the line for cutting in, and sometimes it is amidst a flood of tears. Kids immediately try to justify why they should be able to cut into line. The reality is, it does not matter where they are in line, but reality does not matter when it comes to fairness. The problem is, life is not fair.

We are always going to be put in situations throughout our lives that are unfair. It may be someone cutting in front of us, not getting credit for our efforts, being overlooked for a raise or promotion, or just being taken for granted by someone. The question is, what are you going to do about it? Are you going to pout like a kindergarten kid? Are you going to throw a tantrum when you don’t get your way? Are you going to tattle and point the finger at others for your dilemma?

Hopefully you realize that we have to grow up and accept responsibility at some point. What is cute in a toddler is repulsive behavior in an adult. You can stand up for yourself for what is right, but weigh the potential outcome. Just ask yourself, “Is this really important in the scheme of life?” Adults have a way of justifying bad behavior by saying, “It is the principle of the thing that bothered me.” When someone gets stuck on their principles, chances are they have shut down all rational thought and communication. You don’t want to be “that guy.” That attitude is a recipe for disaster. If it is truly important, speak your mind but do it in love; then, be willing to listen. It is not just about you or me.

Shalom!

Dan Skognes

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