I figured I would share a little story with you about something that happened to me when I was the ripe old age of four (yes, four). I remember it so clearly should be indicative of the impact it had on me at that time.
Our loving family dog was nearing the end of his life and was in obvious distress. My father, in an effort to help him, picked him up to put him in a little bed we had made for him. Our dog, my buddy, who we had cared for, and nourished, and given many hours of loving care to, bit my father when he attempted to help him. How could he? I thought. Why? I couldn't understand it. I remember how for a short time, I didn't like him anymore.
I hadn't thought about that story in a long time but something happened last week that brought it back to me. I went to speak with an acquaintance, a neighbor. Not really a friend, but most certainly someone with whom I had always enjoyed speaking with. When I knocked on the door, I was met in an instant with a scowl and a few harsh words, a few of which contained 4 letters. When the door was slammed in my face, I kind of stood there shocked, and in a rush, I was reminded of how my dog had bitten my father those 20 years ago or so. (Ok, so it's a few more than 20). What brought that story back was that same brief feeling of betrayal.
So, why am I telling you this? Because both stories taught me something the next day. You see, when I got up in the morning and was told my dog had died, it became clear to me that he must have been in incredible pain. For him to have bitten, surely what he must have considered to be, a family member, he could not have been himself. Much the same for story number 2 when I learned that the person's spouse had just left them.
This is where I point out that we are all critters of our environments, of our perceptions and feelings. And all of those things can cause you to say, (and bite people) and do things that seem inexplicable to those not immersed in or having knowledge of, the same environment.
If I may be so forward as to offer a little bit of advice (I usually do, don't I?) I would ask you to pause and think before speaking or acting should you encounter someone either behaving out of character or acting in a way that doesn't seem to fit the situation. Extend your hand and your patience when you think it least possible to do so. Reflect and ask yourself if your actions or words are meant to help or exacerbate a situation about which you may know nothing. You may turn around a story that had a sad ending, simply by YOUR actions.
Submitted by Anonymous
We've all had people in our lives who have made a positive impact on us. A parent or grandparent, a sibling who was there for us, or maybe even just a guy who shines shoes for a living? Whoever they are, tell us their story so they can inspire us even more.Tell Us Your Story All Everyday Hero Stories