Do you ever jump to conclusions and find out later you did not have all the facts? This happens more often than we think. Take a look at your daily routine and all the assumptions you make.
It is very true about the saying “knowledge is power”. I’d like to share a story with you which I’ve adapted to my version for this topic. Let’s call it The Dad on the Subway.
Two random strangers were in a subway car, when a dad enters with two young children. This man has bloodshot eyes, he looks tired and has two day old stubble. He sits down and leans forward with his hands on his face.
His two children are running around from end-to-end in the subway car. They are yelling loudly. The first man is catching up on e-mails and keeps looking up from dad to the children. He is really put out as he cannot focus on his e-mails. He draws his own conclusion about this dad and shakes his head.
The second man is reading an e-book and keeps getting distracted with all the noise. He also looks up at the dad and the two children. He makes his own assumptions about this dad.
The first man gets, leaves at the next stop and heads home. At home, his wife asks how his day was. He replies it was the same old routine at work and shares what made him upset on the way home. He describes the dad as an alcoholic and unemployed who is incapable of holding down a job or taking care of his kids. He is confident with his observation because he has seen guys like this before and he knows.
The second man decides to finally get up, and approach the man. He stands before him, clears his throat and says “Excuse me sir, it really is not my business, but do you not notice your kids are making a lot of noise. Can you ask them to settle down a bit?”
The man removes his hands from his face and he is crying. He looks up and says “We just came from the hospital and their mother died. I have no idea how to tell them and what I am going to do now.” The second man sits next to him, puts his arm around his shoulder and says he is so sorry and can he help.
Go back and read the beginning when you first meet the dad. Compare your original thoughts about him to your thoughts when you found out about his wife. Are you like the second man who is bothered by his assumptions before he found out the reason why the dad just sat there?
Here’s something to really ponder: The first man and the second man can be the same person on any given day. See how different you are when you get all the facts? Ask questions, seek knowledge and judge later.
Thanks to Win Harwood where I heard this story as part of her explanation of a paradigm shift in Dads Make a Difference class.