LMKTM: It IS a Big Deal
When you have kids, you’ll often find that the seemingly tiniest thing can set them into a breakdown. One day recently the culprit for one such breakdown was a hole that had somehow formed in the toe of one of my son Joey’s socks. Upon finding said hole, Joey’s whole demeanor went from his usual happy, pleasant existence to a tortured, overwhelmed reality.
“MAMA!” he bellowed, fat tears already pooling in the corners of his eyes.
“What’s wrong, Joey?” I quickly asked, checking him over in an attempt to identify the cause of his distress.
“You fix my sock!” Joey sobbed, pointing down to the offending hole.
Yes, I realized in bewilderment. This sudden and extremely melodramatic breakdown had been caused by a tear in the piece of fabric that was currently adorning my son’s left foot. I felt a mixture of relief, that the offense wasn’t something more serious, and annoyance that this was what had caused me to jump with panic to run and make sure he was okay.
The thing is, though, that the hole in Joey’s sock was extremely serious to him. To his 3 year old reality, this hole was impending on his comfort, infringing on his freedom to enjoy his life, and upsetting his usual balance. To Joey, this was a big deal.
I’m challenged when I think of the story of the hole in Joey’s sock. How many time do I treat other people and their problems as if if were “no big deal.” How often do I politely nod in agreement as they share their woe, only to mentally raise an eyebrow because I see it as something trivial. But guess what? To that person, this thing may be extremely important. Until you’ve walked a mile in someone else’s shoes (or hole-ridden socks, for that matter), you’ll never know how things affect and upset their reality.
Once again, my kids have taught me a lesson: when I’m dealing with others, I need to remember that to them, whatever it is they’re sharing may be extremely consequential. Each person deserves my respect and full attention as I converse with them and hear them out. Each story is a personal story to that particular individual, and hence, extremely meaningful. May I always endeavor to remember the hole in Joey’s sock, and to regard each person I encounter with grace and understanding.