A friend’s daughter is experiencing her first year of school and all that entails. The teacher communicates with parents about behavior via stickers–green for good; yellow for not so good; orange for not good; and red for call me. Well the child in question came home with a yellow and then an orange sticker. Now, this is the “good” child, so my friend was surprised. She asked what the sticker was for. The daughter explained what it was she had been accused of doing, then added, “But I didn’t see me do that.”
This is why it’s probably just as well I’m not a parent. How would I discipline my child when I’m delighted by her creative use of the English language? That’s just marvelous. She was an eye-witness and she simply couldn’t corroborate the teacher’s allegation. Brilliant.
After I finished laughing at and marveling over the innocent brilliance of a child, I thought about what she said a little more. And I wondered. How often do I not see myself do something that should earn me an orange or even a red sticker?
How often do I slight or ignore someone without realizing it? How often do I offend or upset someone and just blithely go on my way? How often do I walk right past pain or suffering without noticing? Just how much am I missing?
And the worst of it is, I don’t do those things on purpose. I do them because I’m in a hurry or preoccupied (usually with myself) or just not all that interested. I need to slow down and pay more attention. I need to see myself doing that.