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Opinion: Don’t just do something, stand there – a lesson from the fridge

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This is an editorial piece. An editorial, like a news article, is based on fact but also shares opinions. The opinions expressed here are solely those of the author and are not associated with our newsroom.

Sometimes we get so wound up in our frenzied clamor to solve a problem quickly that we forget that the smart move is sometimes just to stop what we’re doing, stand there, take a pause and think.

Resolve this now: stand there and think it out

President Joe Biden has outlined a $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief package, which includes immediate assistance for struggling families, such as $1,400 stimulus checks.

Mr. Biden’s stimulus checks include a $600 payment that was approved by Congress in December — $2,000 total. But the president’s plan is running into resistance from a group of 10 Republican senators who are due to meet with President Biden on Monday afternoon to talk over their counterproposal, which is $618 billion — about a third the size of the president’s plan. 

This group of Republican senators — including Utah’s Mitt Romney — wants to send $1,000 checks to each adult but target them to those with lower incomes.

The amount would begin phasing out at $40,000 for individuals and $80,000 for couples filing jointly. The upper cap would be $50,000 for individuals and $100,000 for couples. Dependent adults and children would receive $500.

The dance between GOP senators and the president will be interesting. And after it is all over, I’m afraid we are going to end up with a lot motion and commotion but, sadly, not a lot of forward progress on this issue of providing coronavirus relief to Americans.

Sometimes, the best thing to do in these situations is to slow down and stand there for a moment.

What my fridge taught me

I had a great lesson this morning. 

The control panel on our refrigerator stopped working.

We couldn’t get water. We couldn’t get ice. We couldn’t control the temperature of the refrigerator or the freezer. It just went blank.

So my wife Debbie did the things that we normally do. Stuff she always does. I’m really bad at it, but she checked out the prices and found out that the part that would need to be replaced would be $400 —  just for the part itself. And then, of course, you’ve got to add in the labor and the installation, all of that kind of stuff.

The fridge is getting a little old. It’s at least eight years old now. So, is it worth investing another five, six, seven hundred dollars to repair this part or would we be far better off to just buy a new fridge?

Hit the reset

But then a wonderful thing happened last night.

Our electricity went out for about 15 seconds. And when the power came back on, so did the fridge — and the control panel. What the fridge needed was just a reset. And so often that is exactly what we need.

Debbie send this message to our family-group text today: Sometimes we just need a little reset. We didn’t need to make a drastic decision. We didn’t need to spend a whole bunch of money. We didn’t need to flail about with all kinds of tough decisions about what we would do next.

And that is a great lesson. 

We only needed a 15 second reset. Think about some of the harsh conversations you’ve had over the last little while. How many of those could have been reset if you just would have paused for 15 seconds or 15 minutes?

We all race around, and it’s exhausting and frustrating; it creates anxiety, anger and and fear. If we just stop for a minute, step back and take a little reset — 15 seconds, 15 minutes, 15 days. 

Don’t just do something, stand there

In government matters, often we are so pressed to do what’s next or to be seen as taking that action.

Sometimes the best thing to do is to not take action.

You know the old saying: Don’t just stand there, do something.

But often we do things that in the end really aren’t all that helpful. And sometimes they’re very hurtful. Sometimes they’re counterproductive. And sometimes they take years to unravel.

So I would flip that old saying on its head today: Don’t just do something, stand there.

Doing stuff is easy. Thinking about stuff is hard. Being strategic is difficult.

So often in Washington, D.C., we seem to have these Armageddon moments. We have to get this done by Friday or calamity X will be upon us. 

Just stand there and think for a minute. And then let’s have a conversation. Let’s hit the reset for a minute, then we can take action. We’re not putting things off. We’re not pointing fingers and placing blame.

This idea that we constantly have to be doing something is counterproductive. 

And so while we have this race in Washington, D.C., to see what coronavirus relief package comes up next, I would advise President Biden, I would advise the loyal opposition and advise liberals and conservatives alike, don’t just do something. Stand there.


Inside Sources with Boyd Matheson, who is also the opinion editor of the Deseret News, can be heard weekdays from 11:00 a.m to 12:00 p.m. on KSL NewsRadio. Users can find the show on the KSL NewsRadio website and app.

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