I’m weird even around weird people. I’m sure my sons wonder about my mental health sometimes because of the odd things I say on occasion. Sometimes I read too much into things and it gets me into serious trouble. Other times, I walk around with my foot in my mouth to save me time because I know that eventually I’m going to say something that I’m going to regret and the next person is never going to forget or forgive. And most of the time, you can pretty much count on me just being an odd duck because that is my lot in life.
A few days ago I was passing through a construction zone. In Utah that’s not rare. We’re always constructing something, ripping something out to put it back the way it was or building another road that no one plans on using.
Anyway, I was approaching said construction zone one day when I saw a sign that simply said, “Yield”. It was on the highway and traffic was building up. The natural person would take the message on the sign as suggesting, ‘yield the right of way and proceed with caution when an opportunity presents itself to merge into traffic.’
In my full-size, rugby dad, Ford Econoline van operated by a testosterone laden idiot who still believes that there is a Porsche engine under the hood, the “Yield” sign really means “Go faster and let the other guy figure it out ’cause I’m the master of this domain.” Funny, huh?
I can’t tell you how many times Super Mom has nearly jumped out of our moving vehicles driven by yours truly when I’ve put her life and our precious cargo in jeopardy because I have a compulsion to be a maniac behind the wheel. My compulsion is further aggravated by Super Mom’s ability to make me feel like I’m six inches high when I’m behind the wheel. No Bueno!
Isn’t that how life is though? No matter what the situation; no matter the urgency; no matter how much I want to prove my point which can easily be misinterpreted as ‘Let me prove you wrong’, sometimes it is much more prudent to yield rather than to answer your impulses.
As a kid my impulsivity ran rampant. For many years my mouth was not directly connected to my brain. I was basically firing on all the wrong cylinders, causing my mouth to say things unintentionally to intentionally hurt, upset or unsettle people. Unfortunately I still suffer from that lapse in judgement at times and yes, it [my mouth] still has a tendency to fire off the bow without warning.
Because of my own inability to harness my inhibitions, I’m doing my best to teach my sons and the young men I work with about a very important principle: You can choose your actions but you can’t choose the consequences.
That basic principle is why the yield sign is important. Yielding gives you a moment to assess the situation; to make sure that the coast is clear before you proceed.
So often I’ve made rash decisions based on emotion, only to pay for it dearly later in life. It is a very hard thing to teach young people but its something that, if they can master it, will put them ahead in the game of life.
So the next time you’re in an emotional traffic jam and constructive or harsh criticism has got you down and you feel like you need to jump to a conclusion because you just want to react instead of take tact, pull back on the reins, settle your horses down and take a moment to make sure that you’re safe and that no one else will be harmed by your actions. Yielding has given me greater perspective and added clarity.