Tonight, as I was finishing up dinner with a small cup of ice cream, we had a little fiasco with the kids. They were both playing happily on the floor together, when my nine-month-old son evidently mistook one my daughter’s pig tails for a chin up bar.
The more she screamed, the more frightened he became. The more frightened he became, the harder he pulled. By the time Keri and I could separate the two, they were both crying intensely.
Through the turmoil, Keri and I made eye contact and shared a discreet laugh with each other. From our kid’s perspective, their sibling was attacking them. From our perspective, it was all an accident and a misunderstanding – no hurt was done intentionally.
You know, it’s almost funny how often that same sort of interaction takes place in our adult life. Our spouse or coworker or somebody on the phone says or does something that makes us angry – something unfair, unkind, or just plain stupid. Rather than giving people the benefit of the doubt and a little bit of grace, we’re tempted to jump to conclusions and assign blame.
Given a little bit of perspective, we’d might be more kind in how we respond to others. Maybe their response came across too sharp because of a pounding headache or the phone support technician wasn’t incompetent but grieving the loss of their spouse. Given this additional information, we’d almost certainly be more kind and a little less ready to pile on the blame.
Many times, when you get right down to it, there’s no one to blame. Or more realistically, we’re all to blame.
I think Bono said it well when he penned the words, “throw a brick in the air, you’ll hit someone guilty.”