Someone is watching you.
To the kids of the 80s, like me, I apologize if that line just caused you to break out into Rockwell’s “Somebody’s Watching Me.”
But it’s true. For nearly all of us, someone is looking at us, trying to formulate their idea of how they are supposed to handle situations of various sorts. So what are your words, actions or reactions telling them?
I recall when I was around 14 or so, I went to visit my Grandpa and Grandma Weddle, and one of my cousins, Charley, who was around 7 or 8, and his family also went to the same church as my grandparents. That Sunday was a day of revelation, since I didn’t realize how much he looked up to me until that morning. When the offering plate came around I reached for my wallet, and out of the corner of my eye I saw Charley reach for his, too. I tried a few more little movements, like scratching my head and yawning, and he was copying me every every step of the way.
Then it occurred to me: he’s copying me because he looks up to me.
Wow, what a big responsibility. I fear, even as a teenager, I fell far short of expectations. Even though I was going through my own trials and tribulations, I was still not a good example, a fact I regret deeply.
The picture above demonstrates how my grandson, Joshua, looks up to his Uncle Trey, my son, both literally and metaphorically. They may argue like brothers sometimes, but they have a blood bond only the closest of family members share.
Right now, you probably have someone come to mind who looks up to you. They’re looking right at you, allowing their character to be defined by your moods and reactions. Nobody is perfect, I know, but as this world gets angrier and more selfish, it is vital we provide the type of example others strive to live up to.
It hit me a few years ago: my attitude either lifts up or tears down everyone in the house. Much to my chagrin, it became apparent to me that my anger or bitterness or depression affects more than just me; it affects everyone around me. It’s not fair others have to walk on proverbial “egg shells” just because I have an anger problem. It shocked me to realize my wife and children would either have a good or a bad night, solely based on my mood.
That’s when I decided, chronic pain or not, I must do my best to earn their love, laughter and respect. Even if I’m tired. Even if I’m depressed. Even if I’m in a foul mood. Even if my chronic pain is screaming so loud I can hear nothing else.
They deserve my best.
So, if you’re the type of person I used to be (letting life choose your bad moods and temper tantrums), I’d like to lovingly tell you to ZIP IT, and smile. My family doesn’t deserve to live under my dark emotional cloud, and yours doesn’t deserve to have to suffer your foul moods, either.
Just my two-cents worth.