A bit of faith, a bit of inspiration, a bit of humor, a bit of the every day...Words from DUG. (Comments are super!)
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One thing people can do is simply ask, "What did you mean by that?" when some says something they perceive as offensive. Sometimes it's the way it was interpreted. My 13yr old son recently had an incident at school where a foreign teacher perceived him as being rude and made him serve a detention. She wrote an e-mail to me about the incident because she was so offended. I was shocked since my youngest son is as laid back, gentle, and unoffensive as they come. As the 3rd of 3 brothers, he is used to living with not getting his way and never letting that bother him. I could never imagine this child being rude to a teacher. He's typically quiet and withdrawn in class!I asked him what he meant. He explained that he expressed his embarrassment and disappointment in himself after the teacher pointed out the answer to his question was in the written instructions and to just read them. The teacher interpreted his response as being rude to her instead. He attempted to explain that he was not trying to be rude, but she was so upset he decided not to say anything further because he did not want to further upset her. He just did his detention. Since she was a foreign teacher, it appeared that she did not understand the way he expressed himself. After hearing both side, I could see how this would have happened.Unfortunately, rather than seeking to clarify, she just decided that her interpretation was the only one. She won't have any further problems either since I'm sure my son will resume his quiet and withdrawn state and ask no further questions for fear of accidently offending her. And this will probably assure her that she punished the offender into submission.Our perception of things is not always the truth. But if we don't seek to look beyond our own perception, we'll never know what the truth is. Then again, people choosing to be offended all the time, don't tend to care what the truth is...Linda Wolf
Your last paragraph really says it, Linda. People too often react with their emotions in lieu of thinking with their minds. Sadly, people probably miss a lot of positive that could come by misinterpreting one thing in a moment and deciding that it is a negative.