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Small pause can make a world of difference

Sometimes life can become way too hectic. We all know this, but it is hard to break the habit of being all coiled up in our daily schedules and demands. We all experience running late, rushing to get a task completed, not having time to do the things we enjoy and putting work above other family or personal experiences.

I see large numbers of people texting and surfing the Web on their smartphones -- maybe something that isn't so smart after all, especially if there is something better going on right before their eyes. We often might miss the world, perhaps, without pause.

There is one big difference between the two human behaviors of pausing and reflecting. Pauses, once learned, no longer become short-term, knee-jerk halts. Pauses can save you a heap of trouble, no matter how quick of a behavior they are. Reflections often help you to think of a better way to do something. It is usually a longer human thought process. In the end, pauses can still lead to reflecting on how to become a better person:

Pauses can save your pride: This is the old adage about trying to not place your foot in your mouth. Picture this: You are smack dab in the middle of an argument with someone, which should be reflected on later anyway, because few people truly enjoy purposeful conflicts. You are seconds away from dropping an emotional, verbal bomb on your human target. Instead, you pause. You stop. You walk away. You remember someone once telling you, "Once you say it, you own it." Don't own the garbage. It is much easier to mend a seam when a garment is not torn into shreds. This brief pause helps you regain your focus on what is important in life: not fighting.

Pauses can save your life: Watch out for intersections. Now picture this: You are sitting at a red light. Once it turns green, you wait to hit the gas pedal. You are amazed at how many cars still travel through the intersection. Some might make last-ditch, left-hand turns because they are trapped in the intersection. Others just chance it because they are in a hurry. If you didn't pause, you could have been waiting for an emergency room cubicle or an appointment at the collision shop.

Pauses can save the world: This might only seem like an extra box of cereal, but what if everyone, while grocery shopping, took a brief pause to pick up two boxes of cereal, (instead of just the one box you need) or two cans of soup (instead of just the one can you need)? One of the two items would go to a local food pantry.

The holidays are not the only times when food pantries need food for those who need our help. It is just one brief pause -- a quick step back to the shelves for a second item to help the world. Multiply this brief pause by 1 million participants and food pantries would no longer need to scramble for help.

We can be in control of our human responses, after all. Sometimes, small pauses can change our world in a split second. We can all survey our daily activities by looking for instances where pauses will make a world of difference. What if recognizing pauses became part of everyone's New Year resolutions? There might certainly be fewer arguments, less cell phone texting, fewer car crashes, increased giving to one another and children who enjoy more time with their parents. That sounds like world peace to me, indeed.

Rick Jetter, an elementary school principal in North Tonawanda, thinks pauses can save us a heap of trouble.

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