Stop, Look and Listen!
In first grade we had it drummed into us to Stop, Look and Listen before crossing a street. It was probably the most important lesson we learned in first grade. Lately, I have been thinking again about the need to Stop, Look and Listen. See how well I grasped the concept in first grade?
In first grade I had to Stop, Look and Listen when I went out to play “hide and go seek” around the large bushes in our play area. There seemed to be two girls who really liked me and kept chasing me and trying to kiss me. I only wish that had been part of the rest of my school years.
On our morning walks my wife and I see a lot of wild life. We have lots of quail in our huge back yard, because we feed them. The quail will suddenly run like crazy for under-covering of a pine tree or one of the thick gardenia bushes. The one “big daddy” quail watches faithfully while the others eat and gives out a Stop, Look and Listen warning when something is not as it should be during ‘breakfast”. No doubt a hawk or roadrunner was present and the quail must hide fast.
Not long ago, we watched twelve javelinas cross the road ahead of us. One larger one waited in the middle of the road while the others crossed safely. He must have been trained to Stop, Look and Listen by the crosswalk school attendant. On the other hand, some jackrabbits need training.
Another time we had to shoo a very healthy coyote off from getting ready to jump our neighbor’s wall to pick up yet another plump chicken for his growing family. We have a particular interest in keeping him from that task, since our neighbor has supplied us with eggs from her free roaming hens. Hens don’t seem to have been taught the meaning of Stop, Look and Listen. They seem to rely on the rooster who is no longer in the yard, having served his time as fried chicken.
Not too long ago on the walk, I turned my head to the right to see one of the neighborhood’s great horned owls. As I did so and turned back to my walk, I noticed I had veered from the left side of the road and was about to be hit by a car from behind and one from the front. I was right in the middle of the road. My attention had been drawn toward the owl. I did not Stop, Look and Listen and had almost been run over by anxious drivers on cell phones eager to get to work.
The moral of all this is that our focus can get out of whack when we forget to stop for a moment, look at what we are really doing and listen to our training and our Trainer for recalibration in thinking and directions. My advice is to remember first grade and take time to Stop, Look and Listen!