The Thermostat Or The Thermometer

By: D. A. Slinkard

It is hard to believe we are in the month of December. I believe I say this every year, but what happened to this past year? Why did it go by as quickly as it did? It seems just like yesterday I was writing in regards to the goal accomplishments of 2017, and now I am quickly thinking about how I will be wrapping up 2018. There is a saying that “Time goes by quicker the older you get,” and I believe the validity of this statement.

As I write this article, I think about today and how the temperature has varied. I could not believe how hot it was for being the first part of December. That was during the day, and then at night, it seemed like a rapid temperature drop occurred, and I went from needing the A/C earlier in the day to desperately looking for some heat at night. I found myself thinking about the thermostat and the importance it plays in regulating hot and cold air.

My next thought was about how I have spent 2018, and how I really got to know Huntsville Hospital as I have increasingly battled Crohn’s Disease this year. In fact, November was one of three months in 2018 that did not require a hospital stay! With each hospital stay, it seemed like the nurses and technicians were always wanting to take my temperature with a thermometer. In case you are wondering where I am going with this, the examples of the thermometer and the thermostat are more relevant in our lives than you may realize.

The people in your life are either a thermometer or a thermostat. Take the thermometer for instance. The thermometer is a tool that tells you whether something is hot or cold. Other than performing this task, the thermometer really is not good for anything else. A lot of people are like this because they go about living their life like a thermometer — not good for much of anything. Then you have the thermostat. Oh, how I love the thermostat! In your home, if you are hot or cold, you must use the thermostat to adjust your heating and cooling system.

The thermostat has the ability to increase the heat or decrease the heat. The thermostat has the ability to heat up or freeze out a person. The thermostat is a driving force for action to occur. If your home is too hot, just touch the thermostat and before long you have adjustments coming to your living condition. There are people in your life that are a lot like the thermostat. These people are the leaders in society, the movers and the shakers if you will.

The problem in our society is that too many people want to be like the thermometer and do as little as possible. We have this mindset of people who want to do exactly what their job description is, nothing more, nothing less; but then they expect to be greatly rewarded for simply doing their job. We have created this mindset because for too long we have been telling people that they are winners by rewarding them just for showing up and participating; this has trickled over into their adult life. We live in a society in which people feel like they are owed something just because they showed up.

What do we do? How do we get more people to play the role of thermostat and less people to be the thermometer? It starts in our homes. Parents have the responsibility and obligation to teach their kids how to be leaders and stop depending upon others to raise their kids. I work retail and I see a lot of interactions that parents have with their kids, and it is astonishing what some parents allow from their kids.

The next step is to eliminate all participation trophies. Just get rid of the idea completely. “It will never work,” some people say. How did we survive long ago before we started giving out trophies for coming in 14th place? Not everything is deserving of a trophy, and we need to stop rewarding every little thing. This has placed us in a situation where being a thermometer looks good because you get a pretty ribbon. If we make changes in the home and do away with meaningless trophies, we will see a change in our society. You will find more thermostats turning up the heat on thermometers.
By: D. A. Slinkard
D.A. Slinkard is the manager of the Athens Staples store