Agency

At work the other day there was a dad at the museum with his two boys. The older boy was getting obviously upset over something, though I don’t know what. Dad pulled his son off the side to sit on one of the orange benches. I couldn’t here what he was saying, but I could see from the gesticulations of his tattooed arms and the expression on his bearded face that he was imparting some serious wisdom.

Finally I heard the dad say, “Alright stand up.” His son obeyed with reluctance. “And now I want you to say, ‘Self-control is my middle name!'”

“…self-control is my middle name…”

“Louder! Yell it!”

“Self-control is my middle name!” he repeated in a high-pitched scream, smiling through the dry tears on his face.

“Alright, but this time be serious; say it with confidence, like it’s coming from way deep inside you.”

“SELF-CONTROL IS MY MIDDLE NAME!” he boomed (as much as a 9ish year old could).

They shared a fist bump and a hug and then went off to another part of the museum.

Though I thought this was a little strange, at least it’s positive and sends the kid a good message. Self-control is something we often take for granted. Regardless of circumstance, regardless of what other people may think, regardless of any other external factors, we as individuals can control our response to any given situation. Whatever has led me up to this point now does not matter as much as what I choose to do going forward.

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