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Do me a favor.

Think, for a minute, of the words and non-verbal cues that set you off. 

Write them down in a list. 

Now, choose the one word, or one thing, that makes you the most mad. 

Got it? 

Write about the last time that word or thing happened. What was the situation? How did you react? What was the outcome? 

The students in our Civility in the Classroom program at Steel City Academy in Gary were asked to do those things this week. 

When their teacher Duane Krambeck told them to pick one, they almost all went to the same word. 

The stories that they wrote about almost all included someone calling them that word, or someone they loved. 

The next day, the class went through some tactics to de-escalate those situations. 

It got me thinking about my own triggers and how adults could really use this exercise.

When was the last time you took a hard look at your own triggers? What about when you're driving? Or talking politics with a family member? 

Recognizing our own triggers is essential to being able to control our reactions. 

Here's hoping we have a few more young people who have recognized theirs. 

Thanks for reading. 

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Deputy Editor - Digital/Audience Engagement

Summer is Digital and Audience Engagement Editor at The Times. Her blog documents The Times’ and Gary Chamber of Commerce’s Community Civility Counts campaign. The idea is simple: Treat everyone with respect and dignity, even those you disagree with.