Are you the type of person who reacts before you know the whole story or before you see the whole picture? Do you pause before you honk?
Let’s face it. All of us have acted in haste without knowing all of the facts. We explode at our spouse, children, friends, and strangers before we ever try to see the situation from their point of view. The other day I had the opportunity to witness this phenomenon acted out before my eyes.
I had pulled into a parking lot to meet a friend for lunch. My car was under the shaded trees, facing a busy metropolitan intersection at lunchtime. While waiting for my friend to arrive, I had become distracted catching up email on my phone behind the wheel of my vehicle. All of the sudden I was startled by a jolting chorus of angry honking coming from the intersection. My gaze went to the epicenter of the cacophony, but I could not immediately figure out what was wrong. This is what I saw:
Initially, nothing seemed to be out of the ordinary.
Until I looked closer. When I squinted a little I could see a LONG train of baby fowl crossing the street, right in the middle of the intersection! The people in the front row of cars could not go through the intersection even though the light was green. Meanwhile, a multitude of cars behind them were honking long, mean, furious honks at the people blocking the intersection.
The crossing of the birds lasted for two light cycles. Simultaneously, the people in the rear cars continued to get angrier and angrier. The honking became more insistent, constant, and bully-like. I can only imagine the frustration that some of the people in the front cars were feeling. What could they do? They were stuck in a situation that they could not change and by no fault of their own. There was no patience or mercy shown from behind – just hasty judgements and revenge honking of the most immature variety.
And here I was, a third party observer, shaking my head at the sheer humanity of it all.
Not that I am any better. The scenario was a perfect illustration of how we all treat others before we know all of the facts. What a classic reminder that we should all exercise a little more reservation before we react.
How about you? Will you join me in my charge? From now on, when presented with conflict, I am going to do my best to take a deep breath and pause before I honk. Who knows? Maybe I’ll end up not honking at all.
*Incidentally, it might be interesting to note that not one of those lovely birds seemed to be aware of the silly human antics that were taking place as they waddled on their merry way.