Uncontrolled Intersections

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“I don’t know why they put stoplights anywhere!  The best way to move traffic is a four-way stop sign.  Everybody knows when it’s their turn.”

–     Richard V. “Dick” Heston (1933 – 2002), my dad — farmer, philosopher & smart, smart dude

Frequently, when coaching leaders, I talk about uncontrolled intersections.  There are no stop signs, no lights, no “yield” signs.  They’re a crash waiting to happen.  In an uncontrolled intersection, it’s incumbent on one driver to assume control — IF they can, and of whatever they can.

We find ourselves these days, in an uncontrolled intersection of sorts.  No routine.  No “red, yellow, green” lights, no yield signs, no speed limits (maximum or minimum).  Technically, we’ve never been “here” before, although, one could argue that we’re not sure where “here” is.

That brings us to the matter of control.  It’s an illusion, as we’ve discussed many times in the past 16 years.

So, if someone is to assume control in times like these, it can be a slippery slope.

Dad, if he were still around, would slip into farmer mode — the one that ruled his life — wherein his reality was that all he controlled was prepping the soil, putting the crop in the ground and then tending the weeds.  All he could do is feed the calves and make sure they got their shots.  Everything else was up to — well, for the sake of not beating that drum too often for secular types — it was out of his control.

I’m a small-government guy.  I don’t like anyone in government making decisions that the market or private citizens could make.  Economically, it’s an easy position to take.  But, in times like these, it may not be as popular a position.  That said, I am who I am, and I can’t very well choose my spots on philosophy or principle.

So, WWDD?  (What would Dad do?)  If he was home (he was, after all, a farmer — hard to be away for extended time, right?) he’d stay home.  If I was away (2.5 million miles and counting…), he’d say, “Get home safe, or, stay where you are…”

He’d hope that every intersection we navigated had a red octagon at each entry point, and that common sense would rule the day.

This week, Three Three, their mother and I chose not to live in fear — and we’ve been “quarantined” on a beach for six days.  On Saturday, we’ll make our way towards home.  We’ll do our best at each intersection to wait our turn and look for oncoming traffic from TSA, the airlines, the other few dozen people on our flight and the other few hundred in each of the three airports.

We’ll make sure, as best we can, that there’s no one approaching from the other three directions, and we’ll make our way home.  As Dad would say, even without the stop signs, it’s still the best way to move traffic.

Be safe.  Not afraid.

 

 


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