Growing up, I was often the subject of teasing. I had red hair, freckles, and my maiden name was “Pigeon”. Yes, just like the bird. I was a “sitting duck”. My mom told me to ignore them. And then she would tell me I have beautiful hair. Moms are awesome! But sometimes I got tired of turning the other cheek.
In high school, there was a boy who sat behind me in math class. Every day he would harass me. He would pull my hair, steal my pencils, and just be a pest. EVERY. DAY. Then one day my patience hit its limit and I clocked him!
My teacher saw me hit him and proceeded to reprimand my redheaded temper, “Pigeon, what is your problem”?
Hmm. How is it we only notice people when they hit their breaking point? We had been in the same classroom. I even sat up front near his desk. Had he really not noticed our scuffles right under his nose? Did he think we were just having hormone issues?
Recently, I was reminded that we only really notice what is happening when someone hits their breaking point. They lose their temper with a colleague. They end up in the hospital with an anxiety attack. They attempt to take their own life. Do we really not see when they are headed for divorce court? Did we not recognize the early signs of substance abuse?
We can’t be completely to blame. People are pretty good at hiding. They are pretty good at pretending too. But it may be time for us to look up and look around. Take an inventory of our friends, family, and colleagues. Are they doing alright? Is there something unusual about their countenance? Take a moment and ask. It may be nothing. But you may also catch someone before they hit their breaking point.