• As I pulled up to the red light with my four kids in tow, I looked over to the car immediately to my right, which was also held up at the light. They had two small kids in the car, approximately ages 5 and 9, and a dog who was struggling to stick his nose out the window, which was open just a small crack. The male driver took a deep drag of his cigarette and filled the car with smoke, as he exhaled. He then turned and looked over at me with a sly smirk as if to say “What are you looking at?” I just shook my head in disapproval and wanted to roll down my window and yell at him but the light had already turned green before I could react. I’m sure he got gist of what I was thinking but just in case I still had to come here and vent.

    Unfortunately, after many injuries and tragedies, we have learned better safety habits the hard way

    Oftentimes people know what’s good for them or what the right thing for them to do is. Yet they still choose to take risks and put themselves in danger. I don’t agree with it but it’s their body, so technically they can do what they want. However, experience, technology and education have allowed us to grow and progress in so many facets of our lives. Gone are the days when we could ride in our parents lap as a child and steer the car, while they controlled the gas and brake pedals. Unfortunately, after many injuries and tragedies, we have learned better safety habits the hard way. Generally, a conscientious individual wouldn’t just disregard safety rules or applicable laws and choose not to wear a seatbelt or, better yet, make sure that their children are wearing one. It would be unthinkable! So, why are eating habits, smoking, alcohol-use, or drugs any different?

    Of course, I understand that people want to enjoy life and that pretty much anything and everything can kill you. Sure, something bad can happen at any time but why make your odds worse? I’m not remotely suggesting that anyone stop all pleasures. After all, life should be fun! I’m talking about things that we can control and know can cause us harm but for some reason we tend to disregard the risks. Just because you’re irresponsible or have harmful habits, which will eventually kill you, please don’t expose others, (especially your children, pets or others who cannot communicate or fend for themselves), to the same risks.

    Remember, once you have children or other family members who are dependent on you or are in your circle of influence, you are no longer just harming yourself. What you do affects those around you. In some cases this could lead to death or illness, with which they would have to deal. But more likely, it’s modeling poor habits and behaviors, which your kids may perpetuate. Any of these bad life choices will adversely affect the future of those around you. So, even if you don’t care about yourself, hopefully your motivation can come from caring for those whom you love. The source of motivation is not important as long as you make the right choice!