About thermometers and thermostats | opinion

Here we are in our first cold spell this winter. Every morning I check a thermometer on my deck to see how cold it is and then turn on the radio for the forecast. As a native of Minnesotan, I have some satisfaction in being tough and enduring what would seriously challenge people’s ability to survive in warmer climates.

Indoor temperature is a different matter. I try to keep the thermostat in the house a little low for some people’s tastes, but I will always turn it up when we have visitors.

Thermometers and thermostats, while the words sound pretty similar, there is a world of difference in how they work. A thermometer shows how hot or cold it is. That’s it. A thermostat, on the other hand, detects when it gets uncomfortably cold or hot in a room and switches on the stove or air conditioning to change the room temperature.

When we express feelings, facts, and opinions on issues in our community, school, or neighborhood, we are thermometers. We may judge a person or situation as good or bad, hot or cold, according to certain criteria, but when that is all we are doing, we are no more than thermometers reading the ambient temperature.

On the other hand, when we move from opinions and evaluations to action, when we respond to them by finding ways to support and promote what is good, and ways to make positive improvement in situations that require change, we are like Thermostats and make a difference in our community and for the people around us.

Just being a thermometer and constantly complaining about the cold won’t make things any better. On the contrary, complaining will only make me focus on my discomfort and feel colder, well, when I think twice, it can have the added effect of encouraging others to complain or mine Avoid company.

As we prepare for our challenging second year of Covid to close, we need more thermostats in our community to prepare for the transition into 2022 and beyond. I wish all readers a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

Chuck Briscoe, now retired, was most recently President / Director of the Bethlehem Academy in Faribault.

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