I’d rather mind my own business all the time. I’m introverted, anti-social, and sometimes (unintentionally) cold. Minding my own business is easier. Stress-free!
The second and third graders I tutor can’t finish anything without worrying what the others are doing.
“Look! He didn’t finish his homework!”
“Oooohh! He made a bad grade on his test!”
“Ahhh! Look what she wrote on her paper!”
I do what I can to hold them to a higher standard– to encourage them to hold themselves accountable for their own learning (and their own mistakes).
Michael is in elementary school, but his brother’s a rising junior. Over the last few weeks, Michael’s brother has changed his hair, started drinking protein shakes, and started lifting weights constantly. Michael thinks he’s interested in one of the seniors at his school.
“Why would she like him just because he changed his hair? Teenagers are so stupid. When I’m older, I’m never going to try to look different for a girl. Yuck!” Michael sticks his finger in his throat for emphasis.
Whenever his brother passes by down the hall, he points and laughs.
When should you mind your own business?
Is your brother’s business yours?
Is it mine?
Should we mind our own business when someone we love is in harm’s way?
When they’ve put someone else in harm’s way?
When a stranger puts someone else in harm’s way—someone we don’t know and have no attachment to?
Should we intervene if there’s violence?
What if the violence isn’t physical?
What if the attack we witness—or the attack we perceive—is among members of the same family? Same team? Same church?
When should we mind our own business?
Some of us are in professions that require us to mind other people’s business.
We must monitor our students’, clients’, or patients’ business because this ability makes us more effective professionals.
More than that, it allows them to progress or press forward. It keeps them safe.
If we have children, and we always mind their business, do we stifle their desire—and their ability—to mind their own?
It’s not my business to know anyone’s sexual preference.
But is it my business to know if someone’s livelihood is being threatened because of their sexual preference?
Is it my business to know if they’re being threatened or attacked?
Are only the protected classes relevant? If not, what others?
I don’t envy mothers.
The decisions you have to make day by day, minute by minute, would absolutely overwhelm me.
We should all take better care of each other—but what business, under any and all circumstances, is mine?
And what business should only ever be yours?