Growing up I loved baseball! Even as a small child, I sat and watched professional baseball games on television. When old enough I signed up to play on a Little League team coached by a neighbor. All during high school I played fast pitch softball. In college and after marriage, I switched to slow pitch softball. I was involved in countless practices and games during those years. During the 25 years or so that I played on teams, my father never came to one practice nor did he attend one game, even though he was only a few miles away. I was also in the school choir but he never came to any of the concerts. My older brother played football through junior high and high school. Our dad only came to one game throughout my brother’s football years. My older sister was the captain of the drill team. He saw her perform once. It is interesting to note that for most of the games he was less than a ten-minute drive away. If you could come up with a simple label for my father based on what I just told you, how would you describe him? My siblings and I could probably make a strong case that my father was very non-supportive.
It is so easy to judge others and put labels on them based on limited information or slanted views of circumstances. It is always good to not judge a man’s actions until you know what his motives are. It is so easy to make mistakes when judging others.
Before labeling my father non-supportive perhaps more of the story needs to be told. He was born in 1917 in a “logging camp” in Southwest Louisiana. His father was a lumberjack with 11 children (8 boys and 3 girls). The family was poor and lived in a small rudimentary house the company provided for its employees. My dad and his 10 siblings grew up poor with very little opportunity for education. There was a one-room school available for the young kids to attend. Even though Dad was very intelligent, he only went to school through the sixth grade. My grandfather was an alcoholic and was physically and emotionally abusive when he was drinking.
Shortly after marriage my father was drafted into the US Army during the final days of World War II. After his release he worked various low paying jobs. With so little education he finally decided to open his own business. I was in elementary school when he and my mom opened a Sinclair service station. Later, they expanded it to include groceries and a meat market. He and Mom were the only employees. I have never seen anyone before or since work as hard as my parents did. Their business hours were 7:30 in the morning until about 8:00 p.m. When the store finally closed for the day, they were utterly exhausted.
Why did they work so hard? To “support” their children so we could have the opportunities that they never had themselves. Looking back I think it was their spoiled kids who were ones who were non-supportive. I seldom ever did anything to help them with their workload. Isn’t it interesting that when we judge others we often have no idea what their motives really are? Rousseau gave good counsel when he said: “Do not judge, and you will never be mistaken.”
People may have far different motives than what you think they have.
If we never judge other people, we won’t have to worry about being wrong.
Those who think they have been wronged can usually find evidence to prove it.
Why do we worry about changing others when we can’t even change ourselves.
Spend the week assuming that those you may have had a tendency to judge harshly actually have different motives than what you think.