In a subway in New York, people were sitting quietly, some looking at their phones, others listening to music through their earbuds, others resting with their eyes closed. Then suddenly a man and his children entered the subway car. His kids were loud and obnoxious and instantly changed the whole climate of the subway car.
The father seemed oblivious to the behavior of his children. His kids were yelling back and forth, throwing things, grabbing, and pushing people. It was a very disturbing situation, and yet the father did nothing! Finally, one man sitting next to him became so irritated by what he was seeing and the total lack of responsibility the father was taking. He looked at him and said, “Sir, your children are disturbing a lot of people. Can you take control of them?”
The man lifted his face and spoke in a soft voice, “Oh, you’re right. I guess I should do something about it. We just came from the hospital where their mother died a few hours ago, I’m so sorry for the disruption.” Can you imagine what at that moment the other man felt? A total attitude shift occurred in an instant.
When we know the whole story of others, it changes not only our attitude, but we think differently, feel different, and behave differently, our irritation vanishes. When our heart is filled with someone’s pain, everything in us changes. It’s easy to prejudge a situation. We all tend to pass judgment before knowing the full story. Most people never intend to hurt us; they are just hurting! Mother Teresa said, “If you treat everyone like they were hurting, you’ll treat 95% of the people correctly”. Let’s get an attitude shift by first finding out their story.