I think it is pretty safe to say most people know how important it is to read before you sign your name to anything. But what is equally as important as reading before you sign is clearly understanding what you have read. There is a big difference between reading and reading AND understanding.
I recently had a client who learned this lesson the hard way because although she read what she signed, she did not fully understand what signing this document meant for her in the long run. Sometimes people can feel pressured into signing something, which is a pretty good indicator that it is probably not for your highest good. If you are feeling pressured to sign something, it is especially important to make sure you read AND understand exactly what you are signing.
Furthermore, you want to be certain you know what the possible outcomes are in exchange for your signature. Sadly, my client suffered a terrible injustice in exchange for her signature. After being coerced into signing a document, that very document was used against her to issue a very severe punishment to her child!
At issue, was an attempt to force her child into the school to prison pipeline, a growing problem for students of color who are most likely targeted. Fortunately, we were able to cite the coercion as a need for reconsideration in her case. However, others may not be so lucky especially after the damage has been done.
Hence, it is imperative that you are always your greatest advocate and that you always look out for own best interest instead of trusting others to do it for you. No one should ever care more about your welfare than you.
Angela Greene is the author of Unnecessary Roughness-The Story of a Mother's Fight for Justice coming Spring 2016. She is also an advocacy expert and media professional. She is the founder of, Change Agents Advocacy Group, a social justice advocacy group that seeks to educate and empower people about social injustices. They specialize in helping clients with conflict resolutions.