When I was a kid, I drank Clorox straight from the bottle. Yes, I did. Here I am alive to tell you. The fiery bleach seared my throat and left me mute. How did it happen?
Watching my older brothers in the back bedroom, I thought I saw them drinking from the bottle of Clorox on the counter. Everyone wants to be like the older brother, right? That is not always a good thing, but we do what we see and think we know.
So, I snuck into the room alone and drank the Clorox. Immediately, I knew I was in big trouble. I could not speak and wondered how long I would live. I took a full glass down. I swigged it.
All I could do was stand at the window, tears streaming, gasping to breath and make frantic motions to my family all gathered out back of the house outside. It took a few minutes of hand signs to explain what I had done and I was rushed to the hospital in our small rural town.
The doctor had me drinking milk. That was it. Drink milk. Counter the poison. Put out the fire of mistaken living.
There is a moral in this story. One: We do what we think we know by observation. Just because you think it doesn’t mean it is true. Two: Redemption is available with counter agents if we don’t die first. Three: Alone we are doomed.
What would have happened if my family responded the way counter culture and tech bullying and hard core nationalism responds today? I would have died. Simple. “Well, stupid, why did you think that? We are turning our backs on you and locking you out of our lives.”
And that is where we are in our human family today. We turn our backs, label, define life in black and white, either or, right and wrong, my way or the highway, and leave our neighbor to die.
Dr. Daniel Amen has done phenomenal work in identifying ANTs, automatic negative thoughts, and ways to stomp them. Thanks, Dr. You provide milk for the Clorox drinkers, love for hate, recovery for mistaken living and imperfect obedience. Check his approach out.
You see, I was just obeying the example observed and receiving of the cure provided. I think my higher than usual voice octaves date to that day. I can sing some pretty high notes. Maybe the Clorox helped me in my growth and abilities.
When one of my kids ate a poisonous toadstool from the backyard, the answer was charcoal not milk. When my granddaughter ate her wood popsicle stick, it took a wait and see solution. Every poison needs a different response, but ignoring and punishing for a simple mistake is insane. I like my kids. I want them to live and learn.
We are explorers. We test ideas and actions against our environment. Sometimes those tests are injurious to ourselves and others and need correction. I doubt if a doctor today would prescribe milk for Clorox, or maybe the solution still stands. But he or she would give a counter agent.
Some folks drank the Clorox and never got the milk. Pouring more Clorox down their throat with cancel culture, tech bullying, and hard core nationalism won’t help anyone. Some folks are still drinking Clorox and think that if they kill 99.9% of what they don’t like it will somehow make life sweeter. It will just make life less appealing to our children’s children and kill us in the process. We need a little milk of human kindness.