Snow storm offered time to reflect on life’s priorities

By CHRIS GEORGE/Guest columnist

We try to make a point to have every meal at our dining room table. Not just dinner, but also breakfast and lunch. It is time to reflect on the day and allow the boys to talk to us candidly and ask questions that I couldn’t even make up.

I don’t always have the chance to give life lessons, but sometimes there is an opportunity and I take it. One night recently, my oldest son, who is 9, said, “I love steak.” I asked him if he was sure and he said, “Yes.” I then asked him if he loved his mother. He paused for moment and then said, “Well, of course.”

Knowing that I only have so many years that this oldest will listen to what I have to say, I took the opportunity to explain to him that love was kind, forgiving, everlasting, and from the heart and that he can in no way love anything the way in which he should actually love another person, especially steak.

But often, as I attempt to teach my boys something, I hear myself talking like my Nanny, and determine that I am actually reinforcing something that I need to work on as well. It also reminds me of the pain that I often see in those that I encounter throughout my day.

As we end another year and begin another, many will look back at accomplishments, failures, milestones, and heartbreak; but there is one thing that is for sure and that is 2013 is in the past. We are all unique in that we all have different trials that we face. We also live in a world full of distractions, marketing strategies, social media and texting that have removed our ability to even communicate personally. We have become spoiled and enamored with “stuff.”

During the most recent snow storm, we saw our community come together in epic proportions. The time I was able to spend witnessing others go out of their way to help was overwhelming. From four wheelers shuttling stranded motorists up the hill, to the teachers who spent the night with our children, Shelby County defined what community is.

All of the “stuff” was no longer important. What was important was taking care of each other. I would imagine the time you spent in your car allowed you to reflect on yourself and others around you. What I experienced during the winter storm were people that were patient, didn’t seek recognition, were not easily angered, trusted one another, had hope and persevered through that trying period.

Whether you were the recipient or the deliverer of such kindness, we should go back to that feeling when we find ourselves overcome with stuff. Everyone that I encountered wanted one thing … they wanted to be back with their family. No one said they needed to get home to watch television, play video games, or eat steak, no matter how good that steak may be.

Chris George is the commander if the Shelby County Sheriff’s Office Investigations Division.