November 26, 2011


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Prisoners of the Moment

I heard this phrase the other day while listening to the radio and it’s been stuck in my head of late: “prisoner of the moment.” It’s a feeling I can relate to very well. My initial response to an action that I really care about, is almost always an emotional one. It’s not always the emotion I would choose. I’m not sure that is good, but it how it is.

We are emotional people. Especially here in a America. We rarely think past moment to moment. When we do, it raises all kinds of scary questions that we often refuse to face. We’d rather live emotionally than rationally. Possibly because we are wired that way, but also because it’s easier to be that way. At least, in the short run.

If you can’t see it in your own life, you can definitely see it in the lives of others.

Sometimes we are just angry. After a play was over, Ndamukong Suh got angry, so he stomped on a player. Off the field, he is polite, articulate and by all accounts is a stand up citizen and player, who has donated a considerable amount of time and money to charity. On the field, he is continually testing the boundaries of what is considered dirty play. How do you reconcile the actions off the field with the actions on the field?

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Sometimes we are just young. Within hours of the school announcing the firing of a football coach who personally admitted to not doing enough to stop a pedophile from harming children, Penn State students went to the streets and rioted. How long did it take before these young men and women realized the idiocy of their actions? An hour? A day? Do they understand now what they didn’t then?

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Sometimes we are just stupid. Pandemonium for a $2 waffle maker. Are $2 waffle makers that amazing? Are they all waffle chefs? Am I just a latecomer to a new waffle making craze that has swept the nation? Perhaps the mere perception of value creates a craving for that value. And insanity ensues.

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It’s easy to point the finger when people are caught at their worst. That’s not really my intent. Rather, I’d like to point out that prisoners of the moment are always prisoners of their own making. The emotions we feel come whether we want them to or not. Our actions, however, are always our choice.

That choice is what separates the real adults in our world from the childish ones.

* Suh photo: (Andrew Weber/US PRESSWIRE) * Penn St. photo: (Michael Henninger/Post-Gazette)

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