Thursday, February 15, 2018

Catalysts for Change

This was originally intended as a post on my LinkedIn account, but it exceeded the character limit. 
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Every action causes a reaction.

No, I'm not talking about one of Newton's laws of physics, I'm talking about how our minds work.

We see something, we hear something (let's refer to this as a catalyst) and we react. Granted not all reactions are equal. Sometimes our reaction is as small as a simple facial gesture, while sometimes the reaction is much stronger, one that makes us reevaluate the situation and attempt to change it.

This brings me to a pet-peeve of mine. 
Your response to the catalyst doesn't need to directly relate to the catalyst. 
If the catalyst opens your eyes to another issue, and you attempt to repair that other issue, that's fine too. 
It's actually better than fine, cause it means that you can think more broadly, you are not limited by "what happened HERE and what can we do to prevent THIS?".
Instead, your thought process is:
"An event just took place, therefore let me evaluate not just THIS event, but other potential events".

Let me explain with the following real life example: 
In 2007 minor league baseball coach Mike Coolbaugh was hit just below his ear by a batted ball, he died as a direct result of this.
The next year, major and minor league baseball mandated that all coaches who are on the field during play must wear helmets. 
Helmets that neither cover the ear, nor the area below the ear.
A helmet that had Mr Coolbaugh been wearing it wouldn't have saved his life.
But baseball realized that leaving coaches (who are often much older than the players), who are standing close to the batter unprotected is both unwise and unsafe.

As a parent, many things will make you question the status quo. 
Many catalysts will get your attention and cause a reaction. 
If the reaction is for the betterment of your child, go with it. 
Never-mind that your reaction might not have made a difference in the case of the catalyst.
That doesn't make you some type of hypocrite. 
It doesn't make you over protective.
It makes you a good parent who is always looking to learn and improve.

Sorry, but saying "Well this wouldn't have helped anyway" is being both shortsighted and reckless.
It is as if you are wearing blinders, limiting yourself to seeing only this catalyst and nothing but this catalyst.
If something needs to be improved, improve it, whether or not it would have been helpful in the case of the catalyst.

Yisroel Picker is a Social Worker who lives in Jerusalem. He has a private practice which specializes in working with people of all ages who are looking to improve their awareness and their social skills. He also lectures on the topics of communication and child safety.  You can email Yisroel at

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