“You will never reach your destination if you stop and throw stones at every dog that barks.” (Churchill) – as seen recently on the Jack’s Winning Words blog.
The 2016 Presidential Campaign is one of the nastier that I’ve seen in my lifetime, but it is also consistent with the lack of civility that has become part and parcel of the partisan politics in America. On the Republican side every candidate (except Kasich) is busy calling the other candidates liars or worse – not conservative enough. On the Democratic side the two seem to be trying to out-liberal each other – trying to convince voters that they are the most “progressive.”
The Republican contest would be a hoot to watch if the thought of one on these contestants getting the nomination weren’t so scary. John Kasich seems at times to be almost amused to be sharing the stage with the sideshow that is going on around him. He is the calm voice of reason almost the maelstrom that is the Republican Party these days.
The point of Churchill’s quote seems to be that it is a waste of our time to stop and react, perhaps defensively or to go on the offense, every time someone throws a stone (an insult, a slight, a demand or a rejection) our way. To Churchill’s way of thinking those are just barking dogs and we have more important things to do – a destination (or destiny) to reach. His point is that you are taking your eye off your goals if you allow yourself to be distracted by the barking dogs in your life; and that is on you.
While it is important not to let the barking dogs distract you from your goals, it might also be important to understand what the barking is about and see if there is something that you are currently doing that needs to be changed, i.e. to learn from the barking. What you may learn that is most valuable to you is what it is about you that caused the dogs to bark. Is it the way that you’ve treated others; or the way that you comport yourself in public. Do you elicit envy or disdain because of a showy display of wealth? Do you cause a protective reflex from others because of past displays of anger or hostility? Do you secretly enjoy the fear that you cause in others due to your appearance? Do others mistakenly take your naturally shy behavior as an indication of lack of interest in them or their points of view? These are all things that can start the dogs barking in your life. There’s no need to stop and throw stones at those dogs, but you can be sensitive enough about them to make some personal changes that may keep the dogs quite in the future.
Keep in mind also that many times a dog barks because it wants your attention and affection. It wants you to play. There may be important people in your life who are barking at you because they too want your attention. Sometimes we get so wrapped up in our pursuit of our goals in life that we forget to pay attention to those for whom we believe we are pursuing those goals. We miss the opportunities to play with our children or to show affection for our loved ones. All we hear are barking dogs clamoring for our time and attention; but we are too busy to do anything but stop and throw a few stones – “Not now, can’t you see that daddy’s busy” or maybe “We’ll take a vacation next year, I’m too overloaded at the office right now.”
If those are all too familiar stones that you’ve been tossing in your life, perhaps it’s time to stop and reexamine the destination that you’ve been so consumed in the pursuit of. Those aren’t just barking dogs in your life; they are the reason for your life. Your real goal (destination) should not just be to work hard so that you can get things for them; but rather, to provide a loving, safe and happy environment for them and yourself. Those aren’t barking dogs in your life, they are your family pack that is inviting you to become a member. Don’t throw stone at them, join them and go have some fun. That’s what the barking at home is all about.