It is so easy to comment negatively when confronted with an apparent lack of thought. It is so easy to make the assumption that “I know that … so why don’t you?” It is so easy to generally put somebody down (or elevate oneself … the difference is simply perspective) with no justification.
When walking Ray, I am continually amazed at people who will encroach his “space” with no thought as to how he may react. I have never done that but then, I had a healthy respect for dogs as a result of being bitten in my mid teens.
However, I am also dismayed at parents who let their child rush up to Ray with the clear intention of touching him. I have blocked such moves so many times, and I wonder why they are not more responsible but … was that me many years ago? With two children, I never thought to warn them about touching a dog they did not know, and I don’t recall ever asking a dog owner if it was okay.
I am dismayed at the total disregard by vehicle owners to the dangers of drinking and driving, and the argument that “I drive better after a few drinks because I have to concentrate” is nothing but ignorance and stupidity. Was that me many years ago? A friend and I used to go “Ruddling”! A local brewery called Ruddles, owned a number of pubs in our area, and Ruddling involved driving to as many of them as possible in one evening, with the condition that you had to have a pint of beer at each one!
I am dismayed at some people I have known who have not equated the responsibilities of a family, with maintaining a steady income. Was that me many years ago when I had a difference of opinion with my employer and quit? With a wife and two children, the following few months became very demanding and traumatic.
I am dismayed at people whose desire for material things, over-rides any financial logic, and they end up heavily in debt and with no obvious way to rectify the situation. Was that me many years ago when our income was significantly less than our outgoing obligations? We literally diverted all available funding to whoever made the most “noise”.
I am dismayed at people who take no responsibility for their actions, but simply lay blame. It is so easy to blame “the dog”, or “the weather”, or “the government”, or “the bus service” etc. etc. Was that me many years ago? It wasn’t my fault I was out of work … it was that stupid company. It wasn’t my fault we had no money, it was the government’s fault for not giving me sufficient unemployment support.
It is so easy (far too easy) to criticize the apparent shortcomings of others, but the chances are that we’ve all been there to some degree. The difference is so often simply life. At my age, I like to believe that I have learned a lot about life. It would be nonsense for me to assume that somebody much younger has learned the same lessons.
Not only should we be sensitive to the infinite life lesson possibilities, and recognize that we have had some that “they” clearly have not yet had, but we should also acknowledge that “they” have no doubt learned things that we currently know nothing about!
All other things being equal, age should always offer the advantage in life skills. Isn’t that one of the positives about the aging process? But let us not discount others, simply based on their younger age, because there is a very good chance that they have simply experienced different things to us.
Perhaps the next time we are tempted to criticize that crazy driver; that thoughtless parent; that frustrated store teller; that impulsive teenager … perhaps before we do anything, we should ask ourselves “Was that me many years ago?”