Who Do You Think You Are?

By Sarah McDonald

A few months back, I was sitting in traffic with my children when my precocious, then 2-year-old, called out, “Get out the way cars, I am (insert first, middle, and last name).”

I, as well as the rest of my children, immediately burst into laughter.

Once I was able to compose myself, I turned to the back seat, and said back to him, “Just who do you think you are little man?”

While I was very happy to recount the amusing tale with my husband, family and friends, it has recently gotten me thinking about this comical incident as a sort of microcosm of our world, so please hear me out.

As you drive through the city, it can be an adventure in self-preservation, but one of the first things they teach you in drivers ed is that driving is social. Not social in that you are supposed to be chatting it up with your fellow drivers, but social in that you are supposed to pay attention to your surroundings, follow the rules of the road and be courteous to your other drivers.

When those basic principles break down, the result can be a collision. So, as a driver, when you don’t use a blinker, cross over solid white lines instead of waiting for the dotted ones or speed through a yellow/red light as opposed to proceeding with caution, it is not driving courteously, but, rather, selfishly, thinking about only what is good for you and your circumstances. You are essentially saying, “Get out of the way, cars, I’m (insert your full name).

Sadly, this analogy can be applied to the society we live in today where one’s personal opinions and positions are placed above morals, truths, and, yes, even common courtesy.

How many of us have friends who say regularly, “I am Catholic, but I don’t really agree with (insert teaching of choice).”

Or perhaps you yourself have said something like, “I can’t believe my neighbor is cutting his grass at such an inconvenient time for me.” To them, to you and to myself, I ask, “Who do you think you are?”

You see, the individual is not the be all, end all. As Catholics, we are to be people for others, not ourselves.

So, when your friend disagrees with Catholic teaching, you can gently guide them to a theological or moral truth; it is, after all, a spiritual work of mercy.

When you find yourself complaining about the noise of a lawnmower, put yourself in your neighbor’s shoes and consider this might be the only time he/she has to get this work done.

It’s a small sacrifice but good practice for putting the needs of others before our own and a good example for our little ones.

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