Ever have one of those moments where a life lesson your mom taught you from early on jumps right in your face to remind you of it’s importance? Yep, that’s what happened this morning. I was reminded that you never know what people have going on, and that their “transgression” against you (real or perceived) may have a huge story behind it that you don’t even know. I was reminded to be kind and smile, because that may be just what someone needs to brighten their day. Or at least to not make their day even more difficult.
So a friend’s (maybe acquaintance’s) little girl’s heart was broken by the way an adult spoke to her (which is enough to make even the calmest of us go all momma bear on someone), she talked to her parents, and the mom had a bit of a meltdown telling me the story, and explaining to me some of what is going on in their family right now. Looking at this family from the outside you would have no idea they have anything going on at all. They are always put together, very social, always on time, and just really nice and easy going people. They never have a complaint, and their children are so well behaved and so well mannered. Though recently I’ve seen just a few little hints that there may be an excess of stress, but only tiny, seemingly unimportant signs.
So all morning at home I’ve been distracted thinking about this family, the mom who is carrying so much weight on her shoulders, and her sweet little girl whose tiny (and I mean minute!) innocent “mistake” has her feeling so bad, and her already stressed parents feeling more frustration. I’ve been so distracted in fact that I overcooked my hubby’s breakfast and I started a hundred things and have yet to finish one. I’ve been wishing I could see this sweet little girl and tell her it’s ok. I want to tell her I’m sorry her feelings were hurt, and I’m sorry that grown ups sometimes get a little carried away and say things they shouldn’t to kids. While I am not the one that hurt her, I want to be a grown up that shows her she deserves kindness and respect.
As my husband and I finished our walk (which is where we encountered this mom friend) I just kept replaying our conversation in my head, and it just stuck out in my mind that this is such an obvious example of how important it is to just be kind, to listen, and to not judge because you just don’t know what’s going on behind closed doors. When I heard the story, it made the little mistakes and forgotten things that were already so minor completely excusable. But what bothered me, what stuck out in my mind, is how quick we are to judge and get angry over little things that would be ok if we knew the story. But why do we need the story? What makes it our business (other than if they want to share to ask for help or just need someone to listen)? Why do we sometimes only have compassion when there is bad stuff, then we have pity and we excuse all? I was reminded this morning to think before I speak, and to realize that I just might make a difference in someone’s day just by what I say.