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Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Quality time

That's what I spent (quality time) with Gabe (my 16 year old son) on the long ride home from Valencia Sunday night.

His last game ended at 7pm. For the first two hours of our five hour journey home he watched Heroes on the MP3 player and I enjoyed sitting/driving in the quiet (there isn't a lot of "quiet" in my life). By around 9:30, though, I think Gabe was worried that I may be getting tired/sleepy (he knows I'm a morning person) and so he turned off the MP3 player and started talking with me.

We ended up talking for three solid hours. It was amazing and it was great. Talk about major bonding, sharing, and sneaking in little bits of wisdom.

Interestingly enough, one of the things I shared with Gabe was a story that I was about to relate to a group of friends/acquaintances on a message board today... but then decided to do it here 'cause I just don't wanna sound overly weird on public forums. It's okay to be overly weird on one's own blog. ;-)

The story goes like this: There was a man and his two young boys riding a public bus one day and the boys were a bit unruly. Well, quite unruly, actually, bothering other patrons and whatnot.

Finally, unable to put up with the wild behavior of the boys any longer, a lady comes up to the father and says, "Your two boys are extremely rude and bothersome. You should have better control of them."

The man looked up at her and apologized, "Ma'am, you're totally right. I apologize profusely. We came from the hospital where their mother just died. I guess they don't know how to handle the news and I apparently don't either. I'm sorry."

The woman suddenly felt about two inches tall.

Point? You just never (ever!) know what's going on in someone else's life or head, so before assuming you know everything that's going on, give people the benefit of the doubt. Things aren't always what one assumes them to be.

This lady thought she was merely stumbling upon an extremely insensitive parent with two out-of-control kids and she wanted to give him a piece of her mind, when the truth was that it was a highly distraught man and two kids who were suddenly faced with overwhelming emotions they probably had no idea how to handle and their behavior was most likely an isolated incident.

I'm not saying that everyone who cuts in front of you at the grocery store or talks too loud in the movie theater or honks their horn because you're driving too slowly or the person who never thanked you for your kindness or any of the other little irritations we are faced with in a day are justified. But I am saying that you just never KNOW what is going on in someone else's life or what their paradigm is, so go easier on yourself in life by giving people the benefit of the doubt whenever possible. Anger can't be good for us... it just can't.

Anyway, that bus story is one I was told when I was very young and it's stuck with me all these decades... profoundly. I'm far from perfect, but I'm glad I try. I have many things to work on, but at least I know what some of them are now.

Okay, I'd better go... I have so much to do. If I get some free time later, I may come back here for another blog post. Still so many things to respond to!


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