Do you respond or do you react?

I listen to podcasts when I drive. There are about 3-4 programs that I have on rotation consistently.

This week, a major theme of each one was the concept of offense or being offended.

Listening led me to reflect on what offends me. The list is longer than I anticipated and includes some “small things” and “big things”.

One big thing happened several years ago walking home from an Independence Day celebration with my kids. I guess it is on my mind because July 4th is near.

A car occupied by some young men sprayed my family with an unknown substance and shouted racial slurs out their window. My daughters were young and had not been exposed to the ugly side of people at this point in their lives. I was beyond offended, I was enraged.

In a matter of seconds I had to make a decision. Respond or react? For a split second I reacted and the rage won. I turned to run after them because I guessed that in the traffic they wouldn’t get far. Then in the next second I realized that what I did or didn’t do was going to have a lasting impression for years to come on the eyes that stared back at me. So just like that, instead of reacting, I responded.

I breathed and asked myself, what can I do now to make a difference? The answer was comfort, listen, and explain the best I could to my kids what just happened. Heart to heart, with many tears shed and a lump in my throat we all decided to focused on unity and not let hate win.

I’m not going to lie. That was rough. I had to make a choice. Of course I was offended! Yet, how I handled it was going to have lasting consequences.

I had to make a choice. Offense did not win, hate did not win. My daughters are love and light, and their light will continue to shine if I can help it!❤️

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