Jumping to conclusions
I came home the other day to a huge pile of clothes in the middle of the living room. My first thought was, “What a Mess!”
That was quickly followed by, “I wish the kids would pick up after themselves.”
Then my 4 year old daughter came running into the room and said, “Do you want to see what’s under the pile, Daddy?”
Now I could have told her that we needed to do better at keeping the house clean or that there was no excuse for making a mess in the middle of the living room. But I didn’t. Instead I calmed my inner neat freak and said, “Sure! Please show me!”
She started happily ripping the pile apart; throwing clothes this way and that. The mess wasn’t just in the center of the room now. It covered the whole floor!
Still, I kept my mouth shut and waited while she dismantled the pile.
Then she stood back. With a huge smile and a flourish pointed to a children’s game, Break the Ice, that she’d revealed.
“That’s great, honey!” I said and then gave her a hug.
My daughter skipped away singing. Then my wife came up and whispered to me, “Thank you. She worked very hard to hide the game and was proud of it.”
As you know, this could have gone quite differently. I could have immediately disciplined my daughter for making a mess. I could have cleaned it up without taking the time to understand what the mess was. But that would have been crushing my daughter’s creativity. And what message would that give her about the reward that comes from working so hard if her efforts are rewarded with scolding or indifference?
You know what, she helped clean it up later and had fun doing it because she’d been able to share her project with me first.
How many times do we jump to conclusions about things and inadvertently hurt others?
I’ve done it. I’m sure you have too. But I’m learning. Often, it’s best to stop a moment and figure out what’s really going on before making a decision. When you do that you’re making a rational decision based on facts instead of an emotional decision based on circumstances. Rational decisions based on facts allow you to shape your life and treat others with kindness.
If you already do this that’s Great! If you’re still learning, like me, I challenge you to take a breath and figure out what’s really going on—or what really happened—before you make decisions.
You Are the Master of Your Destiny!
Copyright © 2012 Roland Byrd — All Rights Reserved
The image came from a web search on public domain images. However, it’s marked http://www.vagabondjourney.com/ so I’m crediting them–even though that’s not the site where I found it. 🙂