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“Live so that when your children think of fairness, caring, and integrity, they think of you.” – H. Jackson Brown Jr.

It has been reported that former NFL defensive end Will Smith died in a shooting and his wife was shot twice, after a traffic incident in which Will Smith’s vehicle was hit in the rear. This is tragic news and these types of violent acts are unacceptable and insensible. We don’t have all the specifics of what exactly happened that night, but we do know it was an act of violence.

I don’t want to get into the details of this specific case, but I do want us to discuss the underlying issue. Will Smith’s tragic death may or may not have been a case of “Road Rage” but we have had an alarming increase in roadside violence. Let’s be honest, accidents happen and the majority of the time they happen because we’re not paying attention while we’re driving.

I for one do not believe that your average mentally stable adult goes from cool calm and collect to a fit of rage within an instant of being in a traffic accident. If we look closer there may be some underlying factors that play a part in the person’s mood prior to them having a fit of rage. There are a lot of different emotions that we experience throughout the day and it’s important that we pay attention to our moods. Yes, sometimes mood swings are unavoidable, but we can always control how long we remain in that temperament.

The Golden Rule is to do onto others as you want others to do onto you. Deep down we all want to be treated with care and kindness. However, we can’t truly care for someone else until we care for ourselves. Perhaps one of the most important things we must do for ourselves is to maintain a healthy temperament. Losing our temper not only hurts others, but it diminishes our integrity. As adults we are expected to be reliable at work, home and in our community.

I don’t know the statistics in regards to how often children are witnesses to “road rage”, but I do know that my children have been in the car with me far too many times when I’ve lost my cool over a simple traffic incident. Our athletes’ don’t just listen to what we say, but they also watch what we do. In fact, often times they mimic what we do more than what we say. It is our actions that resonate with them more so than our words. Don’t get me wrong; most of us will never kill or even fight with someone over a traffic accident. However, it’s the small temper tantrums that build up to the rage that can destroy a life. Life isn’t about how you act in a time of distress, but how you live your life leading up to distressful moments.

You can’t allow one idle moment go by throughout your life where you’re not making purposeful decisions that will develop your character. It only takes one moment for someone to lose their life and our young athletes’ are watching our every move. Be purposeful.

What are your thoughts?