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Victims Don’t Share

Do you mind if I vent a little, as long as I offer some value by the time I’m through?

Last week, I walked into the Dekalb County Courthouse to pay a traffic citation. I had been driving 68 in a 55 mph freeway. I don’t fancy visiting courthouses, but I tried to pay my fine on their website and it was broken; by phone and I couldn’t get through; and by email, but never got a response from them. Obviously, their system is broken.

When I stepped inside, the scene was exactly as I suspected. People were either angry or apathetic. Then, I began to see adults act like children. I got in line and stood for a moment. Suddenly, a man said he needed to get in front of me. I allowed him to do so but asked why. He said, “Because I walked into the building before you did.” I couldn’t believe my ears. I felt like I was on the playground again in second grade. I had clearly stepped into the line first, while he wandered around, but he wanted to go first.

When I finally got up to the window to pay my ticket, the lady was not at all interested in hearing about their broken payment system. She said I had to pay $100 more on top of the original fee. Forget the fact that I wasn’t able to pay before my court date. The clerk griped about the rules, but in the end she wanted my money. Period. Dekalb County is in trouble financially, and everyone knows it — including their monotone employees. I paid my fine just to get out of the building.

I came to a conclusion that day. When people (on either side of the clerks’ window) feel like they are the victims of the system — they don’t share and they don’t care. It’s all about getting what they deserve. All they can see is what they deserve; all they feel is their own needs. Life is scarce, not abundant. People become the worst version of themselves.

Today — I refuse to be a victim. To use one of our Habitudes®, I will be “a driver, not a passenger” in my life. I’ll take responsibility for my life and “steer.” I won’t blame someone else if I don’t reach the destination I wished for. I’ll look into the rearview mirror to count my past blessings, and my windshield to see exactly where I need to go. I will enter my weekend prepared to see the big picture; to look out for the needs of others; to fill someone else’s cup. The Dekalb County Courthouse was a great reminder of the destination I don’t want to reach.

How about you? Where have you allowed yourself to gripe and be a victim?

Tim

2 Comments

  1. Kevin Geary on January 14, 2011 at 11:40 am

    Thanks for this Tim. I’ve been to that exact courthouse and a few others just like it. The moral of the story has prompted me to look into your habitudes program more for my students.

    • Tim Elmore on January 21, 2011 at 11:18 am

      Kevin — Thanks for your comment. If you would like to personally speak with one of my colleagues, please contact Sarah at 678.367.4189. She takes care of our resources, and she’d be a great person to help you out with what you’re looking to do for your students. You can also email her at [email protected].

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Victims Don’t Share