Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Thank you for understanding.

I knew when I started this blog that I wouldn’t be able to write every day, every week or on any sort of regular basis for that matter.   Since my last post I have thought about a couple different topics to write about.  However the other day (actually it has probably been over a week now) I received an email from a parent at the school I work at that simply said “Thank you for understanding.”  It struck me so profoundly and I knew this had to be my next topic.  I have been thinking about it for several days now.  The email was in response to my reply to their original email about why they responded past the deadline, why they were hoping I would bend the rules for them.  In the original email they stated their case and asked if I would make an exception to the stated rule.  To be honest it was much easier at the time for me to say yes, no worries, than it was to explain why I had to deny their request.  I didn’t understand, I just did what was easiest for me at the time.  Now, looking back, I am happy that they think I took the time to understand their situation.  Not only because it made them feel better but because it made me stop and think about what it really means to “understand.”

With friends and people we love it is much easier to say we understand and accept them for what they do, what they say, who they are.  With strangers I think it is much harder.  However, after getting the email I think about how much nicer our world would be if we could extend the understanding we give to those we know and love to those we don’t know as well.  Put yourself in someone else’s shoes if only for a minute.

LC’s 2nd grade teacher, Mr. Ronquillo, said it best when he tried to explained to the kids that you just don’t know where someone else has been in the last five minutes before you encountered them.  Treat everyone with kindness and understanding.  Doing that is so much easier said than done.  It is so easy to understand the big things or the obvious things that we can see…I understand you missed the meeting because your child was sick.  I understand you didn’t volunteer to help because you were committed to supporting another cause.  It is trying to understand the other things that upset our world with no explanation or apparent reason that we all seem to have a hard time with.

With the exception of a few years (or so) in my twenties, I have always been a stay between the lines kind of girl.  I just couldn’t understand why people couldn’t follow the stated rules, policies and procedures.  Now older and wiser (HA!) I have discovered life is not always as it seems.  As much as you may want to “stay between the lines” life doesn’t always work out that way.  Having people along the way that say “I understand” make a world of difference to those that are trying their best to keep it all together. 

So with that said, here is my list of “thank you for understanding” going out to friends and family.  Thank you for understanding when…
  • I didn’t return your email, text or phone call in a timely manner
  • I forgot my kids at your house; you entertained them, helped them with homework and sent them home with a full belly.
  • forgot your birthday
  • forgot to send a thank you note for all the wonderful things you did for me
  • I was cranky and tired and snapped at you for no reason
  • I didn’t listen
  • I didn’t seem to care
  • I drank your best wine and didn’t even stay to help with dishes
  • borrowed something of yours and kept it way too long
  • I was too tired to lend a hand

I am sure the list could go on and on but it is late and I am tired…thank you for understanding.

Oh…and for my friend Sue V….here is your shout out…I love you.  Thank you for being my friend and for understanding when I drop off the face of the earth and don’t see you or talk to you for long stretches of time.  Two things I love most about you are it doesn’t matter how long it has been, we can always talk and share smiles like it was yesterday and when I run into you at school and haven’t seen you in forever we always hug.  I love that.

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