Michaels, common sense, peace, joy, perspective, serenity Michaels recall notice posted in store

Common sense ... I often talk to my university classes about common sense being so common that we don't even think about it! What is common sense? Yes, I know it is the title of a pamphlet written by Thomas Paine, but that's not what I'm talking about. How does one know if they have common sense if it is so common?

A few days ago we were out shopping and I saw this recall notice posted at a Michaels store and I asked my youngest daughter to take a picture of it. Spend a moment truly reading the words and understanding what item they are recalling and why.

I feel we are losing a sense of common sense! The New World Encyclopedia defines common sense as: "refers to what people in common would agree on: that which they intuit ("sense") as their common natural understanding. The term is also used to refer to beliefs or propositions that, in the user’s opinion, would in most people's experience be prudent and of sound judgment, without dependence upon esoteric knowledge, study, or research, but based upon knowledge believed, by the person using the term, to be held by people 'in common.'"

Common sense, in my understanding, is ultimately describing a person's sense of personal responsibility. We all make decisions about our actions, and we all need to cope with the consequences of those actions. Yet, in our society, many people have taken to shifting the consequences, and thereby the responsibility, of their actions to others. An example is this recall notice. A person misused an item, was hurt, and now the item, without a malfunction needs to be returned. If I were using that item as it was meant to be used, there would be no safety issue. Yet I am told to send it back to the store, for when I decide to sit on it and then blame the store for not telling me not to sit on a table.

Personally I feel offended when society determines I lack common sense. Take for instance my daily coffee; the cup tells me that the contents may be hot. Really? Ordering hot coffee actually means the contents of my cup may be hot? I certainly hope it's hot. And if I spill that cup I do assume I will feel pain and take responsibility for the spill. Unfortunately, had my cup not stated this warning someone who spilled it's contents would appear to be surprised that hot coffee burns the skin.

I recognize my sarcasm, but I fear that society is not only taking away common sense, but also personal responsibility. We are also teaching people that they don't have to think. A society which loses it's ability to think critically will slowly devolve, and I believe we are already seeing some of the effects of this de-evolution.

What can we do to keep up attention to common sense? Here are my thoughts:

1.  Before making a decision, stop, breathe, consider both the positive and negative consequences of your action.

2.  If you are making a major life decision, not just buying coffee or where to sit, take time to speak with close friends and family.

3.  Prepare yourself ahead of time to cope with any possible negative consequences as a result of your decision.

4.  If it doesn't feel right, don't do it. If you aren't sure, say out loud what it is you wish to do and see how it sounds to you.

5.  If you end up doing something without first using common sense, laugh about it, blog about it, but don't make everyone else give back their tables because of it.

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