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Rain clouds usually mean rain

October 14th, 2009

Read the signs

 

Rain clouds usually mean rain. It is not illogical to suppose that we may get wet soon after we observe meteorological cues on the horizon. But do we always obey the signs?

 

storm

 

How many times do we fail to see the obvious?   Why do we think that we are above reading the signs?  Ignoring helpful forewarnings is foolish, and often is the downfall of the complacent. 

 

I just had a humbling experience.  Despite the outward signs of an imminent downpour, I was compelled to mail a bill. I decided to do this on foot.  The mailbox is only one mile round trip, and I truly I needed to walk off some writers block. 

 

What do black clouds laden with precipitation have to do with rain? As an avid watcher of The Weather Channel, I should have known better.  Still, I could not be dissuaded by common sense.  But - and you guessed it - it rained with a wrathful vengeance.  It was an epic deluge that saturated my spirit and washed away my pride.

 

To make matters worse, a “helpful” observer pointed out that I was getting wet.  She did this from the safety of her hooded windbreaker.  I smiled, thought up a fitting insult for my own cockiness, and continued to marvel at the absorbing capacity of my t-shirt and shorts. 

 

Why do we fail to read the signs?  We should know better, just as the recently burned will have new respect for the flame.  Still, there is an odd arrogance in all of this. Many of us labor under an occasional delusion that we are above the odds. 

 

For example, we can arrogantly suppose that agitated offenders will pose no personal threat to us.  The signs mean nothing to us because we think that we are not affected due to some special status.  Some staff believe that a seemingly good rapport with offenders will shield them in all circumstances. Therefore, they think that the signs of agitation do not have personal implications. Yet, it takes just one volatile offender’s action to negate that notion of total safety.

 

That was an example of seeing signs but ignoring them because you think that they do not apply to you.  Yet, there is another level that goes beyond ignoring the signs.  This is the stage of not even looking for the signs.

 

Often, complacency leads us blindly through the sleepy maze of oblivion. An example of this is failing to check all corners of a room just because nothing sinister has happened previously.  And, despite notions to the contrary, interested parties are always scrutinizing search patterns in order to exploit a weakness.

 

Sometimes, we are given many signs that staff are in distress.  They may make a point of talking about how difficult they find an offender’s actions.  Rather than delve deeper into the problem, we brush it off as a simple clash of styles.  Yet, the tone and frequency of the concerns go unheeded. 

 

In considering how we interpret the little pieces of a puzzle, we need to remember a few things:

 

·        Little things can mean a lot.  Consider all signs.

·        Circumstances are indifferent to your status and attitude.

·        We are not perpetually lucky.  There is no benevolent and invisible agent of fortune watching your every move in corrections.  You are responsible to react to the signs.

·        Discuss signs with colleagues.  Collecting precursors of doom can uncover  information vital to defuse a dangerous situation

·        Realize that despite a thorough assessment of signs, the event may not transpire.  Not all clouds that appear to be laden with rain will necessarily produce a storm.

·        Remember that safety for all is the reason that we care about signs.

 

 

As my rain story illustrates, I fell victim to betting against the odds. When I walked to the mailbox before the storm. I told myself, “Why do I have to heed the signs of rain? It will never rain on me!”  I have to laugh.  The joke was on me. There I was a few minutes later, soaked to the bone. I can only self-deprecate and repeat my new mantra: “Read the signs, Bouchard!”

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joebouchard Self Scrutiny

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