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The "but" to end all "buts"

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Beth Wheelock Tallon
February 27, 2013

This entry is written by Pamela Thomas, executive director of Milton Area Youth Center. Her contact information is at the bottom of this blog.


I’ve heard the word “but” a lot lately, and it’s not because I hang out with junior high students all afternoon- that’s a different word altogether. I’m talking about the “but” that has become the fertile soil from which excuses grow. This small three letter word precedes most justifications and explanations. I’ve come to the conclusion that “but” can be a dangerous word.

“I know the speed limit is 55, officer, but I’m late for an appointment.”
“I know I should report this income on my taxes, but taxes are too high anyway.”
“My parents said to be home by midnight, but they just don’t understand what it’s like to be my age.”
“I know this assignment is due today, but my dog ate it, my third cousin’s brother’s aunt’s parakeet died, I was so close to the next level in (insert video game here) that I just had to stay up all night to beat it.”

Essentially when we say “but” we’re exempting ourselves from the guidelines and expectations that apply to everyone else. If we’re not careful “but” will become such a part of our everyday lives that we’ll stop taking responsibility for our own actions and choices, allowing rationalization and relativity to dictate our every move and decision. Does anyone else see the danger here?

I can think of at least two ways this rationale applies to our young people. First of all, let’s remember that we’re setting the example for the next generation. Let’s teach our children to accept responsibility and correction and let’s teach them to be men and women of their word. Let’s teach them this by living it ourselves, and not by telling them, “Do as I say, and not as I do.”

Finally, get rid of that “but” that stops you from doing what’s important. I challenge you to shift your thinking from “I want to, but I’m too busy, too poor, too tired, too old, too young…” to “I am busy, BUT there are young people that need a mentor, so I will find the time.” Or “ I don’t have a lot of disposable income, BUT I will give to a local charity because that’s more important than one more fast food meal.” I challenge YOU to find your but to end all buts!

Milton Area Youth Center is a faith-based, community-supported non-profit organization that provides safe, positive after-school activities for Milton’s teens. It receives no federal, state, municipal or school district funding and relies solely on grants and the financial gifts of individuals, foundations and local businesses to accomplish its mission of building community.

For more information email mayc.director@gmail.com, check out www.mayc.org or call (608) 436-3637.



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