Sometimes we act like world-class idiots when we don’t understand the people we’re dealing with. We judge by appearances and ignore what can be behind people’s behaviour and their upbringing; just as the child in this story:
There was a boy who lived with his mother and his grandmother. His grandfather wasn’t very old, but he was confined to a wheelchair and had very little use of his arms. He had marks and scars on his face and swallowed food with great difficulty.
It was the boy’s chore to go to his grandfather’s room and feed him lunch every day. The boy did it diligently, but not happily. After all, feeding his grandfather in that condition was depressing, besides the mess that he made.
As the boy grew and became an adolescent, he became tired of his responsibility. One day, angered, he came into the kitchen and told his Mother that he had enough.
“From now on, you feed grandpa.”
Very patiently his mother stopped her chores and asked her son to sit, and said: “You’re a young man now. It’s time for you to know the truth about your grandfather.”
“Your grandfather wasn’t always confined to a wheelchair. In truth, he was a great athlete. But when you were a baby, there was an accident.”
The boy leaned forward in his chair as his mother started to cry.
“There was a fire. Your father was working in the basement, and thought you were with me in the kitchen. I thought you were down there with him. In truth, you were upstairs in your crib. We both ran out of the house. Your grandfather ran up, rolled you up in a wet comforter, and ran like a madman through the flames. He brought you safely to me and your father.”
“He was quickly taken to the emergency room with second and third degree burns, as well as smoke inhalation. The reason why he’s like that today is because of what he suffered the day he saved your life.”
By this time, the tears were rolling down the boys face as well. He never knew about this, his grandfather had never told him. And without a conscious effort on his part, his attitude changed. Without complaining, he took his grandfather’s lunch tray and took it to his room.
Once you understand someone, know who they really are, where they come from, what were the experiences that turned them into who they are today, you will easily understand why they do what they do. They won’t change, but you’ll change the way you look at them, and consequently your attitudes towards them will change.
Whether in your marriage, with your family, in your workplace, at school, or with a neighbor, understanding someone can completely change your relationship.
Check out these blog posts: Do Not Assume || Ignorance – It Blinds Us || For The Proud In Spirit, Self Righteous & Self Wise || Assume Your Responsibility || Dumb, Smart Or Wise