Please Remove Your Cleats
Taking an early morning walk, I came upon a restaurant near a golf course. Anticipating patrons taking a break between nines, the owner had put this sign above the entrance: “Please remove your cleats before coming in.”
CONSIDER how one day I forgot my golf shoes, so instead of driving home to get them, I decided to play in my street shoes. I don’t think I really ever appreciated my golf shoes until I tried to hit the first ball…and the next, and the next. All day long my feet kept slipping, causing my infamous slice to be even more infamous.
Cleated golf shoes are great on a golf course: they help you dig into the ground and get a firm stand when hitting the ball. However, they are not so great in carpeted restaurants. The cleats dig into the fibers of the carpet and tear them loose. If the floors are wood or tile, the cleats mark and scratch, and worse yet (for the golfer), they slip and cause a fall. So what is good and needed in one place can be disastrous in another.
Someone made the observation that for many children, all they receive from their fathers and mothers who work is their temperament. That is, the parents struggle all day with the faces and tensions of the workplace. All day long it’s problem-solving, dealing with people, possibly not enjoying our work or being afraid we may lose our job. From the beginning to the end of our day, we dig in for whatever the day may bring; we wear cleated shoes.
Then we go home. We walk into the house with our cleats still on. We bring home with us our temperament, formed and molded by the day. And it often tears and scratches and individuals begin to slip, fall, and be hurt. That temperament was necessary out there – but not in here. All our family sees is that side of us and never sees the fun, relaxed, playful, and understanding side. Men are notorious for doing this, but now with more moms working and kids in a highly competitive society, all family members are guilty of this.
What to do? First, realize it’s happening. Second, try and find a method, a transitional time perhaps, when the cleats can be removed and a comfortable pair of house shoes can be eased into. Perhaps we should pause before we enter our homes and see this sign above the entrance to the place where the most important people in our lives live: “Please remove your cleats before coming in.”
Rev. Wendell Mettey