Years ago, I had one of the top Samoyeds competing in canine agility in the nation. She was lightly boned for the breed, and a little long – both attributes that added to her ability to turn quickly and move fast. AKC agility divides dogs not only by experience, but by size. Due to her height, the majority of the dogs against whom she competed were Border Collies. The sport of agility seems to have been created for them – they love nothing more than tearing around a course with blazing speed and lightening turns. But…is that really better?
A major company is running ads showing children interacting with an adult. The discussion centers on a question, such as “which is better, fast or slow?, big or small?” Since the intent is to advertise a network based on being both large and fast, the children’s answers move in that direction. It raises a question about our society…have we really decided that big and fast is better? And – was that a wise decision?
Much has been written about the interest in instant gratification. Some claim that the desire to have an item NOW led to the credit issues so many households –and our nation - have. Rather than wait or save, an entire generation moved through young adulthood with the theme of “CHARGE”. As they started running businesses and government, they worked the same way. Some managed to create a sound enough base to manage the debt; not that long ago, we saw that those that were top heavy with it could not survive. The determination to get more without having the base to do so ended up costing corporate lives and personal fortunes.
That same desire may be at the base of some of the crimes which plague our community. Illegal drugs are used because of the manner in which they “excite” pleasure centers in the brain. Rather than stimulate these centers through interaction with people, with actions which bring praise from the community or other legal means, some have discovered that mind altering drugs will trigger those centers for them. Sadly, as with any other stimuli, over use of those centers can cause them to become less sensitive. In other words, it takes more or better drugs to get the same result. The unwillingness to work for what we want can be seen in the excuses given when people are facing charges for theft. Whether due to a bounced check that they do not pick up, or simply removing that which they fancy from the home of someone else, theft boils down to not waiting to earn, but taking from those who have. This can become a learned behavior. When children repeatedly hear that “we deserve more”, or “we are put upon because…”, they often decide to take matters into their own hands and level the field. All too often, when asked why they stole a phone, a computer, or a bicycle, children respond “I know I couldn’t get one so I took that one.” Perhaps there was something to be said for the days of fifty cent allowances that were carefully saved up for a radio or other luxury!
Think of the things that we enjoy which are not created quickly – a good meal, cooked from scratch, a loaf of homemade bread or pastries, art, music, a hike in the woods or a day on the lake. These are but a few examples of the benefits of slowing down.
The “bigger is better” part of the mindset also has to be considered. In the ads, of course, the children respond that bigger is better – I always want to ask if that includes a bigger needle at the doctor’s office! There are times that bigger is better; granted. When the concept becomes a truism, however, we set ourselves up for contradictions. The day of the monster cars seems to be gone. With higher gas prices, most of us have decided that bigger isn’t better in the garage. Is a bigger house really better? If it isn’t needed for the people inhabiting it, there is more to clean, more to heat or cool, more to pay taxes on. If it is the right size for those in it, time and money are saved for other pursuits.
Our doctors would tell us that bigger is NOT better when it comes to our size. (And they would couple it with faster is not better when it comes to fitness or trying to regain control of weight!) The more weight we carry, the harder it is on our joints as well as on our hearts – and the more likely we are to experience a life cut short because of medical problems.
Fancy competed against the Border Collies all her career. She could never out run them, nor could she throw herself into a turn in the manner that they could. However – on courses that required a little more care and thought, she often beat them. They were going too fast…and missed the jump that they were supposed to take.
Sorry, major company, faster and bigger isn’t always better!
Lisa Peterson is the County Attorney for Nolan County. Comments about this column may be e-mailed to firstname.lastname@example.org